Repairs near, Annapolis tells Stanton center Community programs to shift to Masonic Temple for revived renovation


Norman Brailey and the volunteers who run programs at the Stanton Community Center in Annapolis need wait no longer for the oft-delayed renovation of the center to begin, city officials said yesterday.

Brailey said his boss, Richard Callahan, the city director of recreation and parks, told him he could temporarily move his programs into the Masonic Temple on Conduit Street by June 1 and that renovation of the Stanton Center will begin soon afterward.

It's a good sign that the $2.5 million effort to repair the historic building will proceed after more than a year of delays, Brailey said.

"I am elated that we have received a favorable reply from the city fathers," he said. "I look forward to operating in the newly improved facility by the summer of 1999."

Last week, Brailey and his volunteers were frustrated that city officials were still unsure when the move would be made because negotiations on a contract for use of the site were not complete.

At the time, city officials said construction could not begin until the city council appropriated money for the project and passed Mayor Dean L. Johnson's capital budget for the new fiscal year. That is to happen by June 1.

"This is an inconvenience for everyone," said Bertina Nick, a member of the Stanton Community Center Advisory Committee. "But in the end, it will all be worth it. We just need to know it's all going to happen."

Work on the worn brick building, which once housed the only high school for black residents in Anne Arundel County, was to have begun in May or June last year, but city officials said then that they were waiting for state funds, $300,000 of which arrived last month.

This time, members of the advisory committee say, there should be no more obstacles. The committee voted last night to send a resolution to the mayor and other city officials urging them to move quickly to repair the center's leaky roof, peeling lead paint, crumbling plaster and rotting wood floors.

Meanwhile, some of the programs have started moving to sites across the city, and committee members say they will ask city officials to search for other locations for summer programs because the Masonic Temple might not be large enough to safely hold all the activities.

Pub Date: 5/21/98

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