Aldermen extend facility ownership offer to AJFC

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; Aldermen Tuesday extended an offer until January for AJFC Community Action Agency to assume ownership of the Neighborhood Facility, or risk losing the space it currently leases there for a Head Start program.

With the town planning to soon build a new multi-purpose center, aldermen in June said it would be impractical to continue operating the Neighborhood Facility and voted not to renew any leases on the building in 2004.

The board then offered to donate the building to AJFC, which operates a local Head Start program there for 65 pre-schoolers.

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Another 15 children are on a waiting list to enter the program.

Wilkinson County Chancery Clerk Thomas Tolliver told aldermen he contacted AJFC officials recently after learning the Head Start program may be in jeopardy.

&uot;Some sensitive issues have been worked out. They say they can work with the building, but they need more time,&uot; Tolliver said.

Attempts Thursday to contact AJFC Executive Director Dr. Lamar Braxton were unsuccessful.

AJFC has administered Head Start programs in the Neighborhood Facility since 1976, according to local program director Irma Jarvis.

&uot;The children come first. It (the program) means everything to them,&uot; Irma Jarvis said.

Woodville resident Bridgette Catchings has a 3-year-old enrolled in Head Start and said the program provides an invaluable service.

&uot;Although the parents are the first teachers, the Head Start program helps the children further develop their motor skills,&uot; she said.

In other action related to the town’s proposed multi-purpose center, the board voted unanimously to seek bids for the sale and removal of a house from the former Habig property at the corner of First West and Water Streets.

The town recently purchased the property and plans to locate the center there. The board also agreed to advertise for bids on architectural services for the new structure.