Md. awards funding for community 'safe haven'


State officials have awarded almost $230,000 to Knox Community Development Corp. for the creation of the Dawson Safe Haven for Children, Youth and Families.

The Dawson Safe Haven will be a community center that provides safe activities for children and families, state officials said.

The check - presented in a ceremony Friday at Knox Presbyterian Church with Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele and State Housing and Community Development Secretary Victor L. Hoskins - comes from Maryland's Community Legacy program.

"The Community Legacy Program is one of the best economic development tools to enhance urban neighborhoods throughout the state," Steele said. "[Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.] and I are especially delighted to support this worthy endeavor to aid vulnerable children and families in need of a safe haven."

The facility, which could open as soon as this summer, will be named for the Dawson family. Angela and Carnell Dawson Sr. and their five children died in 2002, in an early-morning fire set at their home in the 1400 block of E. Preston St.

A drug dealer pleaded guilty in 2003 to setting the fire in retaliation for the couple's repeated calls to police about local drug trafficking.

"The Dawson Safe Haven is a good example of the Community Legacy Program's flexibility, which enables us to address a broad range of community needs," Hoskins said. "It's a great day when we can invest in our urban centers and also help protect the people who are the lifeblood of these neighborhoods."

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