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Activity center expanding

October 14, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

The Washington County Association for Retarded Citizens is planning a $1 million addition to its Hagerstown activity center to replace the one in Chewsville next fall, a group official said Monday.

The addition at 820 Florida Ave. would allow the group to expand its services to clients who are retarded or have head injuries by helping them start their own businesses, said Executive Director Bob DeHaven.

More than 300 of the association's 600 clients participate in the day program, which includes jobs such as packaging and sorting books, packaging rawhide, packaging kerosene heater wicks, sorting materials for snow plows and making window parts, DeHaven said.

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Association officials want to take those jobs one step further by helping their clients launch their own businesses from the activity center.

After they are trained, can handle the equipment, know they like the job and have enough revenue support from work contracts, the association would help clients relocate the businesses outside the activity center, DeHaven said.

Construction on the one-story, prefabricated building is expected to start in the spring so the addition would open next fall, he said.

The state of Maryland will pay $800,000 of the construction cost through a bond issue, DeHaven said. The association will have to raise the rest, which is more than $200,000, he said.

The addition would include a training center that can seat up to 60 clients, DeHaven said.

It would replace the Chewsville activity center, a former elementary school, he said.

The Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals will consider an appeal to build the addition within 100 feet of the front property line during its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

About 400 of the association's 600 clients are from Washington County, DeHaven said. The association serves Allegany, Garrett, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties.

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