Safe Haven grant held

Md. officials await bid on plan before giving funds to Carroll

`Never-ending saga'

September 07, 2001|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

State officials want to see a developer's bid to build a new Safe Haven homeless shelter in Westminster before giving Carroll County a $465,400 grant for the project.

The state has essentially promised the grant money, provided the county receives a viable bid and passes it to the Board of Public Works, said Jolene Sullivan, Carroll's director of citizen services, during a meeting with commissioners yesterday.

Sullivan said state officials have told her the grant approval would take about two months after the board receives a copy of the winning bid. The county has just started advertising the project, she said. The county has been awaiting word on the grant since early this year in what Sullivan called a "never-ending saga."

In April, the county commissioners approved plans to build a 33-bed shelter on Stoner Avenue on the condition that the state fund half of the project's $930,800 cost. Carroll sold the current 25-bed site for Safe Haven to Carroll County General Hospital in 1995. The hospital has been allowing the shelter, which serves homeless people with mental illness and substance abuse problems, to stay at the site while the county searches for a new location.

That agreement was slated to last through this month but the hospital has agreed to extend the agreement through January 2003. The commissioners will vote on that extension in the next several weeks but indicated no opposition as they listened to Sullivan yesterday.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell asked Sullivan if a developer might be dissuaded from bidding on the project by the absence of concrete state funding. Sullivan reiterated that the state has promised the grant pending documentation of a bid. The delay has occurred because state officials aren't used to a county handling the design and construction bids for such a project, she said.

In other business yesterday, the commissioners said they will hold a public hearing in late fall to review commercial rezoning requests for 46 sites around the county. The county's planning commission gave favorable reviews last month to 18 of the sites. The 46 sites combined constitute the second phase of the county's comprehensive rezoning process. The 18 sites cover 109 acres including 34 in Westminster, 22 in Finksburg and 21 in Eldersburg.

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