The first physical step toward creating a public service center in the Villages of Tall Trees, a low-income apartment complex, will take place tomorrow with a groundbreaking ceremony at 9:30 a.m.
The 5,000-square-foot center at 1626 Rickenbacker Road will include such Baltimore County agencies as health and social services. It will also house a day care and job training center, a small library, a computer room, after-school tutoring and a police satellite station.
Franklin Square Hospital has agreed to provide staffing for the health center, which will include prenatal and postnatal care.
"This thing has just snowballed," said Capt. Jim Johnson, head of the Essex police precinct. "We believe this could become a model for community centers everywhere."
The county secured a $280,000 federal community development block grant through the office of former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley to buy a building in Tall Trees and renovate it as a service center.
"We asked ourselves what we needed to do to help Essex," said Joseph C. Schrack, of the county Department of Community Development. "We talked to police officers and community leaders and came up with the idea."
Mr. Schrack, Captain Johnson, Charles Cresswell in Mrs. Bentley's office and others worked with community and government leaders to develop the plan. The center is expected to open in September, Mr. Schrack said.