Thursday, April 27, 2000

Sedamsville center aided

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Squeaky floors, moldy door frames and bad light fixtures soon will be replaced at the Sedamsville Family Resource Center at 617 Steiner St.

        Through contributions from the neighborhood and a grant from Fifth Third Bank, renovation of the center is expected to start in late spring, said Brenda Merrick, director.

        “We expect the renovation will cost about $161,000,” Ms. Merrick said. “We don't have all the money, but we have enough to get started.”

        Fifth Third is providing a $40,000 grant for the renovation through the Charles Moerlein Foundation.

        Ms. Merrick said architectural drawings have been completed and the bidding process will start soon.

        The work will include replacing a floor that has begun to rot, moldy door frames and bad light fixtures.

        “We want to make the Sedamsville Center more pleasant and more responsive to the neighborhood we serve,” Ms. Merrick said. “We have about 200 children a month who participate in the services here.”

        The Sedamsville Center is operated by Santa Maria Community Services, which also operates the East Price Hill Center at 3301 Warsaw Ave. and the Lower Price Hill Family Center at 718 State St.

        Ms. Merrick said the services at the Sedamsville Center include an after school latch-key program from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Girl Scouts, a program for children 12 or older, a parent support group, a child-rearing class and a computer training class.

        “Our programs are children and family oriented,” Ms. Merrick said. “We are very much integrated into the neighborhood with our service. A lot of staff work is volunteer. We let groups come in and use the center. If they have proven their support for the center, we give them a key and a code to use the building.”

        At the three centers, Santa Maria Services reach about 2,500 children a year, mostly with Appalachian backgrounds.

        Santa Maria was established as a settlement house in 1897 to serve Cincinnati's Italian immigrant population. In the 1940s, that population shifted, and Santa Maria began serving people of Appalachia.

        The center's mission statement is: “To empower Price Hill, Lower Price Hill and Sedamsville residents, through knowledge and encouragement, to embrace their ability to change the conditions that limit their opportunities.”


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