Plan to integrate retarded into community cleared COLUMBIA

April 09, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council approved programs last night to integrate retarded citizens into community activities and to organize forums for Columbia residents with similar cultural and intellectual interests.

The program for clients of Howard County's Association for Retarded Citizens will allow people with mental retardation to make weekly visits to Columbia in small supervised groups to participate in activities at recreational, community and cultural centers. They will also shop at village centers and perform community service jobs.

The purpose of the program is to allow ARC clients to broaden their experiences and increase their contact with the community.

The council also approved establishing a "salon" program in which participants can meet informally at various locations. Activities can include debates, discussion groups, lectures, arts, trips or other interests.

Once a "salon" program is started, volunteers can take over its operation.

The Columbia Association will sponsor both the ARC and "salon" programs, neither of which is expected to effect CA's budget.

In other action, the council approved a charge for a new Sister City Advisory Committee. The panel is to work to improve the exchange program that allows Columbia students to spend time with families in cities in France and Spain.

The council defeated a proposed amendment that would have required the committee, which has yet to be appointed, to come up with ways to reduce the exchange program's budget for fiscal 1995.

The Sister City budget for fiscal 1994, which starts May 1, is $33,000. CA's budget is $30.7 million.

Several council members objected to imposing the requirement on the sister-city committee since other similar advisory committees to CA have not been charged with recommending budget reductions.

"It's the right thing to do, but we should target it across the board," said council member Gail Bailey of Long Reach.

The council said it was leaning toward approving Columbia Ice Rink renovations that would cost $115,000 for fiscal 1994. It also is considering an option for more extensive renovations and an expansion that would cost $310,000.

The council is expected to decide the ice-rink issue at its April 22 meeting.

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