With state aid, nonprofits set to start renovations

County organizations won most of funds they sought in tough legislative session

April 20, 2008|By SUSAN GVOZDAS | SUSAN GVOZDAS,Special to The Sun

A handful of Anne Arundel County nonprofit organizations are going forward with renovations after gratefully emerging from a bruising legislative session with more than a million dollars in funding.

Though state officials cut more than $500 million in spending during the 90-day General Assembly session, lawmakers managed to award $25 million in bond money requested for projects across Maryland. Anne Arundel County organizations beat the curve, receiving $1.26 million of the $1.74 million they sought.

Among the winners: The Galesville Community Center Organization was awarded $200,000; Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis got $250,000; the historic Radoff-Goshen House in Cape St. Claire got $150,000; and the Deale Elementary School baseball fields got $125,000.

Only two bond-funding requests did not get approved: The Historical Freetown Renovation will not receive any of the $150,000 it requested to renovate the former schoolhouse-turned-community center; and Second Genesis Inc., a substance abuse treatment center in Crownsville, will not receive the $28,000 it sought for a security system.

Del. Mary Ann Love, the county's House delegation chairwoman, said these requests could still pass next year. Overall, she was pleased with the results.

"We did excellent," she said.

The Galesville group will start repairing the roof of its 79-year-old community center in the next month, just a part of the $400,000 renovation planned for the former two-room segregated schoolhouse.

The community organization got half of the money it needed when the state agreed to fund its $200,000 bond request in the closing days of the legislative session. The community organization was required to raise $94,000 in a "soft" match, which it already has in hand. It received $130,000 from Arundel Community Development Services and Preservation Maryland, said Gertrude Makell, president of the organization and a former student of the schoolhouse.

She hopes the state funding will help the organization get other grants to finish the renovation of one of the few historic sites in the community founded by freed slaves. It was built in 1929 as a Rosenwald school for black children.

"We're over half the way there," Makell said.

The Light House Shelter in Annapolis will get $222,000 of the $250,000 it requested to help pay for construction of a multimillion building in Parole. The homeless shelter is in the quiet phase of its capital campaign and is trying to raise whatever it can from state and local government, said Joe Gill, project director. He said the shelter was lucky to get most of its request at a time when the state was looking to cut $50 million.

"There's not a whole lot of coordinated funding to go around, given the demands," Gill said.

Likewise, officials at the Children's Theatre of Annapolis are relieved to have gotten $100,000 of their $125,000 request, said executive director Kathy Swekel. Its new $2 million theater at Bay Head Park is slated to begin its first season in June. Before the bond request, the Children's Theatre had raised $1.5 million.

The Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre will receive half of the $100,000 it requested to help pay for the renovations it has planned. The first phase calls for the restoration of the building's exterior, which will cost $200,000, said President Carolyn Kirby. Depending on fundraising success this summer, the project may begin in the fall.

The Hammond-Harwood House will receive only $100,000 of the $250,000 it requested to pay for the approximately $1 million repair of its roof. This was the second year that officials from the historic Annapolis home had requested money.

"Last year, we weren't as lucky," said Carter Lively, the executive director.

The money is a welcome infusion for such a small organization, which will have to struggle to raise the rest of the money it needs, Lively said. So far, Hammond-Harwood House has raised only $180,000. Construction work was completed last summer on the roof covering the hyphens, which connect the wings to the main house.

Opportunity Builders, which provides jobs and work training to developmentally disabled adults, will get $65,000. The money completes a $750,000 multi-year grant for the construction of a new $9.4 million building in Millersville, said spokeswoman Leslie Prewitt.

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