The Maryland Deaf Community Center will receive $500,000 from the city of Frederick to help the organization find a new location.
The funding is among the amendments that Mayor Michael O’Connor announced on Friday to his proposed fiscal 2023 budget, as the city’s aldermen prepare to vote on the proposal Thursday night.
The half million dollars will be used to make renovations, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act at a new facility, Linda Stoltz, the Maryland Deaf Community Center’s president, said Friday.
After leaving its last location in January, the organization has found a location it likes, but is waiting to receive $2.5 million in state funding in July before officially announcing the location, Stoltz said.
The new center would provide activities for deaf seniors who might be socially isolated, as well as other people who are deaf or hard of hearing, including those who also are blind, she said.
It will also provide offices and other space for a variety of deaf organizations, training for deaf caregivers, classes in American Sign Language, and other services, she said.
They’ve held classes at churches and other locations in the past, but now they’ll have their own space, she said.
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, who advocated for adding the money to the city’s budget, said she was thrilled that O’Connor had added the money to the budget.
The city has a large deaf community, which hasn’t always gotten the funding that it needs, she said.
Kuzemchak said a new facility could help change that.
“It’s going to benefit the entire community, not just the deaf and hard of hearing community,” she said.
The amendments announced Friday would add $5.5 million to the operating budget, as part of a $197.3 million fiscal 2023 budget that O’Connor introduced in late March.
It included a $127 million general fund. Additional funds for water and sewer, stormwater, parking, the Weinberg Center for the Arts, Frederick Municipal Airport, Clustered Spires golf course and reserves bring the total proposed budget to $197.3 million.
Friday’s amendments also included moving control of $200,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding for buying new surveillance cameras from the city’s Risk, Safety, and Compliance Office to the mayor’s office. Several aldermen had questioned whether the cameras should be monitored by people who are not law enforcement officers.
The mayor’s office has developed a group to work with the city’s legal department to develop a policy on how cameras would be used.
There’s also an additional $4.25 million in state funding to the city’s Capital Improvements Program to develop a new headquarters for the Frederick Police Department at 100 E. All Saints St. and a new $7.5 million CIP project for a community center on the city’s west side.
That project would be funded through a transfer from the city’s fund balance and proceeds from a sale of city land.