Parents wary of talks on adult day program

March 27, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Officials of a group that serves developmentally disabled adults said it will decide in May whether to sell the western Howard County building that houses a day program -- more than 20 months after a task force was formed to study the option.

Parents fear that sale of the Wright Building in Farside by the Association of Retarded Citizens of Howard County (ARC) will mean the loss of the day program, which offers training in job skills to adults with mental retardation and other disabilities.

Vince Finan, a Columbia resident whose 32-year-old son attends the day program at the facility in Farside, is among the parents who have criticized ARC.

"They can never reach a decision on anything," he said. "There has been plenty of discussion and no conclusions."

ARC officials say that parents' fears about a potential shutdown of the program are unfounded.

"It takes a long time to deliberate on issues, and the board is nowhere near" deciding whether to sell the Wright Building, said Carol Beatty, ARC president. The program will continue regardless of the fate of the building, she said.

ARC serves 150 county residents at operations at the Wright Building, at a facility near Columbia's Village of Long Reach and at Fort Meade.

Officials say the 15-year-old Wright Building lacks electronic doors and bathroom facilities to provide adequate wheelchair access. It also needs other repairs, they said.

The task force is considering three options:

Selling the Wright Building and buying another building that would house several of ARC's services, including the day program.

Renovating and expanding the building to house several of the organization's programs.

Renovating the building and maintaining its current services.

Pub Date: 3/27/96

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