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.
[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.
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."