|The Mary Mitchell Center, |
at 2007 Mapes Ave.
(Photo by James Fergusson)
The center serves hot, healthy meals each afternoon for students in its popular after-school program. Now, the city says they have until February to purchase and install a new stove, with a fire suppression system that meets Health Department requirements, to avoid losing their childcare license.
"It's a big expense," said executive director Heidi Hynes. "It's just not something that we can do."
The Department of Education, which owns the building and runs a GED program there, told Hynes that it would buy and install the stove, but at the cost of approximately $35,000.
The center is already struggling to pay the city another $30,000 to cover maintenance fees on the building, which had been waived for over a decade in an agreement with the DOE since the Mary Mitchell Center officially opened in 1997. This summer, however, the city announced that it could no longer afford the fees.
"Given the current fiscal reality, we are asking community organizations who have not been paying for these services to begin covering these costs," a DOE spokeswoman said last month.
Hynes says she has already had to cut the center's operating hours to afford the monthly maintenance payments. To buy the new stove, they will have to redirect more money from the budget that was originally intended for after-school programming. The center still needs to raise an additional $15,000 over the next month to pay the costs in full.
"Basically, we have between Thanksgiving and Christmas," to come up with the money, Hynes said.