Upon learning of the rumor that Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority's (ARHA) Family Resource Learning Center had closed, Franklyn Malone, director, said on Wednesday, "The center is definitely not closed. We are not able to offer all the services due a cut back in funding but we are still functioning.
"In fact I'm taking some kids on a field trip today. It's been somewhat tough but we are definitely operating and hoping for some renovations. The people who are getting the services know we are operating."
When the center's planned renovations were brought up at ARHA's meeting Monday night — after the unanswered question about its closure — Commissioner Carter Flemming suggested that they be delayed until a final decision was made on the center's future. William Dearman, executive director, ARHA, offered no rebuttal to that suggestion.
Wednesday morning Malone was dismayed that false information about the closure had not been quashed at the meeting. "I am not aware that the planned renovations are not moving forward. I have a meeting with Dearman today and I would hope to get some clarification. But, let me assure you, we are definitely open. There are a lot of hungry children that depend on us and we intend to keep operating," Malone said.
This was verified by Dr. Archie Morris, director, ARHA Social Services, under whose office the center and Malone operate. "We are moving ahead with the renovations. The bids are on the street. But, a contractor has not been chosen," he said.
Renovation plans call for the present center, 910 Montgomery St., to be combined with the unit immediately adjacent, 912 Montgomery St. "This will give us more space to improve programs and bring both units up to code," Morris said.
"We are now in the process of packing some of the things, such as computers, so they are not damaged during the renovations. That's one of the reasons we have cut back on some of our learning programs. But, we have been continuing with many of our programs.
"We have worked with the schools on Title I, sent kids to 4-H camp, have feed 85 children in the Kids Cafe program, and have worked with at least five residents to help them get their GED," Morris said.
He also said, "All these facts were included in the Secretary/Treasurer Report." A synopsis of that report is presented to the board verbally each month by Dearman. Each commissioner has a printed copy of the full report.