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Council to consider Roeder Home future

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The Whatcom County Council will be considering adoption of the recommendations of the Roeder Home Task Force at its evening meeting on Tuesday, June 9, starting at 7 p.m. The Roeder Home issue is the twelfth item on the council's agenda, but it may be heard earlier than the order would indicate. Flip Breskin, who was a member of the task force, is encouraging supporters to attend the meeting and give council members an indication of how much volunteer support there would be for reopening the home to cultural programs.

Programs at the Roeder Home were curtailed by the county as of December 2008, in an effort to save operating costs. The task force, which was appointed by County Executive Pete Kremen, put together recommendations to reopen the home and have the programs run by a non-profit administrative group, perhaps Allied Arts, rather than the county. If this idea were to go forward, it would require volunteers from the community in order to be successful.

Since December 2008, fees for use of the home have been increased dramatically, effectively closing use of the home to many groups that had presented programs at the home, some with a tradition of over 30 years. In addition, county policy since that time has been that individual groups would bear all liability for events held at the Roeder Home. Breskin said that a local non-profit is now considering providing insurance to events at the home, thus overcoming a significant obstacle for many volunteer and small cultural groups.

One may contact any of the council members ahead of the meeting, via regular mail, email or phone. Council members may be emailed as a group at council@co.whatcom.wa.us, and/or individually. The mailing address for written comments to council members is Whatcom County Council, 311 Grand Ave., Suite 105, Bellingham WA 98225. When sending written comments by regular mail, include eight copies (one for each council member and one for the official record). For more information on how to contact council members, call 676-6690 or visit the county’s website.

About Sheri Ward

Citizen Journalist • Member since Feb 18, 2009