The Depot in Hopkins could close despite efforts to keep it afloat

This year marks the 25th anniversary of a popular hangout for teenagers in the west metro.

But its future is now up in the air.

The Depot Coffee House in Hopkins has been a safe haven for teenagers for nearly a quarter of a century, but soon the student-run business could pour its last cup of coffee.

"That's pretty much where high school students can have fun Friday night parties without the presence of drugs and alcohol," Depot Youth Board Chair Nina Fontanella told FOX 9. "It's really devastating what's happening and we understand there are so many factors contributing to it." 

The City of Hopkins, which operates the coffee shop with three other community partners, posted a letter on social media saying they plan to suspend operations at the coffee house on April 2.

The city says the Depot facility and program manager submitted his resignation last month, and they determined The Depot didn't have enough money to re-hire him.

"Hearing that it will be closing, and we don't really know what the future holds for eligible youth for it, it really is saddening and heartbreaking," said Naveah Madison, Depot Youth Board member.

The city says The Depot has operated at a loss for several years because of construction of Highway 169 and light rail, the closure of the bike trails next to the coffee house due to the Southwest Light Rail construction project, the pandemic and limited funding.

But The Depot's co-founder says its value to the community outweighs the cost it takes to keep the doors open. 

"The amount of money going into a project like this versus the amount of goodwill and great resources coming out, there's no comparison," said Depot co-founder Matt Nelson.

The Depot Youth Board says it has enough funding to continue holding music and late night events until early next year, but closing the coffee house would leave a hole in the community.

"This venue is known for so much and so much community building and for it to go away, would be a significant loss for teenagers, adults, bikers and I would say everyone in the city of Hopkins," said Fontanella.

Some supporters have started a petition to keep The Depot Coffee House open.