April 21, 2007
More details on the Center's deal with the city

I'm still waiting to receive a copy of the city's letter of intent with the Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation, but in the meantime, today's Chron story provides a few more details.

The agreement, which must be approved by the City Council, gives the center three years to raise the money in a capital campaign, take out a loan or agree to a financing arrangement with the city at a 5 percent annual interest rate.

So the financing arrangement with the city is in effect a last resort. If the Center can raise the cash ($6 million in three years seems doable, given the amount of positive publicity the place has received lately) or get a better deal elsewhere, it can do that instead.

[David Baldwin, chairman of the center's foundation board,] said the agreement will secure the future of the center, which now offers a wide array of services to about 600 mentally retarded people, including 200 who live in a six-story dormitory.

Baldwin said the center will now be in a much better position to improve and modernize its aging facilities and expand its scope of social services.

I wonder if that means there were restrictions, or at least obstacles, in the lease concerning capital projects. I'll try to find out.

And as noted in my previous post, everyone appears to be happy with the deal:

"This is truly an agreement where everyone wins," [Baldwin] said.


Councilman Michael Berry said the settlement was a victory for the taxpayer as well as the community.

"Compassion can exist and coexist alongside capitalism, and the almighty dollar is not the only thing that we strive for," Berry said.

The center's residents gathered around the mayor and other officials outside their dormitory and cheered the announcement. When [Mayor Bill] White asked them if the center was a nice place to live, their resounding reply was "yes."

"No one questions the importance of the mission," White said. "No one ever has."

Annette Hill, who has lived at the center for more than five years and has a job downtown, said she was relieved to hear that she and everyone else would be staying.

"It's a load off," she said. "I love it here."

Well done all around.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston

I wonder how this all started in the first place. Everything was going fine. Nothing had changed. Then all the sudden there was this big mess that absolutely had to get resolved.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on April 21, 2007 3:01 PM