Red Cross expansion 5 months late

March 20, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

The renovation and expansion of the American Red Cross office in Bel Air is more than five months behind schedule, but the winter's ice is only part of the reason, Red Cross authorities say.

About 85 percent of the $175,000 needed for the project has been collected, so money is not a major issue, Wayne Wigglesworth, director of the Red Cross Northeast District, said Wednesday.

The difficulty has been scheduling volunteer subcontractors to move in, do their part and get out so that the next phase can be started, he said.

Mike Jones, general contractor and owner of M & M Contracting, has done his best to schedule these subcontractors, said Mr. Wigglesworth.

However, if someone doesn't show up because they have to finish a paid job, he said, it's difficult to blame them.

He said electricians added power last week and the alarm system will be in soon.

"Mid-May is a realistic completion date," Mr. Wigglesworth said, noting that the selection of office furniture has been completed.

When finished, the project will provide an additional 2,000 square feet to the wood structure built in the late 1930s at 122 S. Main St. in Bel Air.

The Red Cross took over the building in 1944, but only about 1,700 square feet of space has been usable.

Some of the added space will be used for storing disaster supplies. Two large classrooms will be used for health, safety and emergency training.

"When the new office is not in use for training sessions or other Red Cross business, we want to make it available to the community, for meetings or whatever," said Mr. Wigglesworth.

He believes that use is fitting because the renovation has been made possible by community donations and the efforts of more than 40 construction and building trade businesses that provided the labor.

Red Cross volunteers answered more than 50 disaster calls in Harford County last year, assisting more than 165 people with financial help, usually people who had been displaced from their homes by fire.

The financial aid given to Harford residents last year exceeded $30,000, said Mr. Wigglesworth.

Last year, about 200 volunteers from the Central Maryland Chapter of the Red Cross responded to about 700 calls and spent more than $466,000 for disaster assistance.

Donations are always welcomed, Mr. Wigglesworth said, and a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bel Air High School may be an enjoyable way of making a contribution.

The Bel Air Community Band will perform to raise money for all Red Cross projects.

Mr. Wigglesworth said he hopes that 200 or more will purchase tickets, which cost $5 for adults and $3 for children, to support the work done by volunteers from his office.

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