Even while the future is uncertain for a proposed child care center, St. Stephen's African Methodist Episcopal Church is moving ahead with a planned adult day care facility.
The Howard County legislative delegation recently was briefed on the project, which seeks to build a 4,800-square-foot medical day care center near the Elkridge church. A nonprofit organization formed by the church is seeking $457,000 in state funding for the center.
The Rev. Alicia Byrd, pastor of St. Stephen's, said the church is trying to provide what residents lack in the area.
"We see a real need for adult and child day care," Byrd said. "We have a real concern for our youth and a real concern for our seniors, and it is out of that concern that these projects have evolved."
Church members formed the nonprofit St. Stephen's Economic Development Corporation Inc. to keep the senior day care and child care projects separate from church affairs. To receive the state funding to build the adult care facility, the organization would have to pay $153,000, or 25 percent of the total cost of the project.
Howard legislators rejected a proposal last month that would have provided $392,500 for an 8,000-square-foot child care center to be built on land adjacent to the church.
With the help of Del. Frank S. Turner, the church is seeking other funding sources.
Last week in Annapolis, the Howard delegation was briefed on the senior day care center project by representatives from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Department of Budget and Management.
Elizabeth G. Barnard, the health department's director of planning and capital finance, said there is a state bond bill request to build the center.
"The request is currently in the governor's budget," Barnard said. "There is not one senior facility in Elkridge to serve that area or any going into Anne Arundel County."
Waiting for plans
Barnard said the church's nonprofit organization applied for more than $30,000 in 1998 for architectural fees to plan the center. That request was granted, but the plans have not been drawn up as officials continue to search for a site.
Howard delegates expressed surprise that they had not been informed of the adult day care center when they were briefed on the child care center, and they questioned health department officials about why they were not told. Officials responded that the adult day care proposal was submitted directly to the state in 1998 and was not related to the child care project.
"Usually we're being asked why projects didn't get into the budget, not why it is in," said Arthur H. Hilsenrad of the state's Department of Budget and Management.
Baltimore County Del. Donald E. Murphy was critical of the project. "We're going to subsidize this organization to compete with the private sector," he said.
But Turner defended the plan. He said church officials did not mention it before because the projects were separate.
"There is somebody in this room who does think adult day care is a fine project," Turner said.