REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — Redwood City’s teenagers will soon have better things to do than cause trouble downtown with mischief.

The Redwood City City Council voted on Monday to approve an Action Create and Engage program for local residents ages 12-24 to engage a large population of youth to positive activities.

Starting earlier this year, more than 200 pre-teens and teens began gathering regularly downtown. Property and business owners voiced concern about “disruptive and unsafe behavior, including blocking sidewalks, interfering with traffic, and property damage.”

City staff decided that the best way to address the issue was by giving pre-teens and teens more positive opportunities, including after-school programs, bike events, entertainment activities, coaching, and mentorships.

“We want to ensure a safe and fun environment for all in our downtown, while also supporting healthy and positive activities for our youth. The ACE Program will support youth development and empowerment, while also ensuring accountability for unsafe behavior,” said city manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz.

“As a collective front, we will be able to support more transition-age youth and their families by linking them to needed job opportunities and social services, especially in underrepresented and underserved communities,” said Rafael Avendaño, Redwood City Together executive director.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative granted the city $230,000 in support of youth programming and activities in support of this plan.

The immediate action plan builds on community input received through the City’s 2022 People’s Budget and the Redwood City/North Fair Oaks 2019-2024 Community Collaboration for Children’s Success Action Plan. The Police Activities League, in partnership with other community organizations, will offer after-school programs, bike events, entertainment activities, coaching and mentorships and events for transition age youth in Redwood City and in North Fair Oaks. The pilot program will also address youth crime, truancy, and criminal disobedience.