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Retarded citizens group to open centralized center tomorrow


The Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens is centralizing several services for mentally retarded and developmentally disabled clients with the official opening of its Community Resource Center in Towson tomorrow.

"We can already see the benefit of having everyone together," said Stephen H. Morgan, BARC's executive director. "It's a hub."

Previously, field operations and administrative offices were scattered at four locations in the city and county, he said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the 44,000-square-foot center in the former Armco Building at York Road and Stevenson Lane. Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III will join Mr. Morgan and members of BARC's board of directors for a two-hour celebration that will include tours of the building.

The Colonial-style structure will house several new BARC programs, including a child care center and a library dedicated to information and research materials on mental retardation.

The day care room is expected to be completed by midsummer and will have openings for 50 children -- with or without disabilities, Mr. Morgan said. The library, being stocked with books and magazines, will include the latest technology in hardware and software, he said.

In addition to staff offices and conference rooms, the resource center will provide adult day care with recreational and social activities and adult education classes for BARC clients to improve their employment opportunities.

Renovation of the 37-year-old building -- occupied by Armco Steel until the late 1960s, then by multiple tenants -- began in late 1993. Funding for the $4.3 million center was provided through grants from the state and Baltimore County, along with low-interest bond financing from the Maryland Economic Development Corp.

Also, BARC raised $950,000 through a capital campaign. The nonprofit organization, which serves more than 1,800 clients in the Baltimore area, was founded in 1949.

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