About the Westchester Community Center
The Westchester Community Center was established in 1994 by a creative partnership between the Oella community and Baltimore County Government. In this partnership, county government leased a once dilapidated old school building to the community in exchange for long-term community responsibility for management, maintenance and repair of the building. The center is run by the Westchester Center Foundation, a non-profit organization of the community which oversees operations of the facility. Rooms in the facility are rented to long-term tenants; the main hall and 2 meeting rooms are also available for rent to anyone in the community for meetings, classes, and parties.
Permanent residents of the Center include:
Office of the Greater Oella Community Association
Mother's Day Out of Westchester 410-465-3777, preschool nursery (ages 2-5).
River's Edge Community Church 410-747-0399
Office of the Westchester Center Foundation 410-465-9905
Mountain Martial Arts
Groups meeting regularly at the center include:
The building now known as the Westchester Community Center was originally constructed by Baltimore County in 1924 as the Westchester Consolidated School, so named because it replaced several one-room schools. It later operated as the Westchester Elementary School and then as the Westchester Annex, when a new elementary school (the second Westchester Elementary School, now Catonsville Middle School) was constructed in the area. It was last used as a school in 1977. From 1977 to 1993 the building was used by various community groups and various ideas were considered for use of the building, none of which came to fruition. In the meantime, cumulative decay from lack of maintenance caused the building to become virtually unusable by 1993. Community groups with interest in using the building as a community center met to formulate plans in 1993-1994. Baltimore County committed to the concept of leasing the building to the local community and undertook lead-paint and asbestos abatement, and replaced doors and windows. In November 1994, a group of interested and dedicated community members (Debbie SeBour, Tracy Lee, Terry Viancour, John Handy) formed the Westchester Center Foundation (WCF), which was incorporated as a non-profit corporation to become the lease holder and managing agent for the building; the WCF is governed under its corporate charter, by-laws, and the lease agreement with the county.
In March 1995 the WCF leased the building from the county at a rate of one dollar per year for 50 years. In exchange, on-going renovations and maintenance costs were assumed by the WCF using revenues from tenants leasing space in the building. Utility costs were subsidized on a gradually decreasing scale for the first 5 years of the lease, while tenants were obtained and as major renovations continued. Throughout 1995, the WCF continued renovations and improvements to common areas. In Spring 1996, a $50,000 bond bill passed the State legislature to fund continued renovations, specifically lighting and electrical upgrades. The roof was also replaced that year with Community Development Block Grants. In 1999, a $120,000 bond bill was passed to fund air conditioning for the building which was installed in 2002. In 2007, a $150,000 bond bill was passed to fund boiler replacement, roof replacement, main hall floor replacement, and other improvements. The boiler and roof were replaced in 2008; the floor was replaced in 2009.
Revenues from tenants and hall rentals are used to support ongoing operations and maintenance of the building, specifically (in decreasing order of cost) utilities, building upgrades, custodial service, general facility maintenance (plumbing and electrical, painting, boiler maintenance, etc.), building management, and insurance. The WCF operating budget is approximately $100,000 per year.
1. Julie Pallozzi
President, Appointed Director
2. Dane Lewis
Vice President, Appointed Director representing RECC
3. Louise Keller
Treasurer, Appointed Director
4. Julia Graham
Secretary, At-large director
5. Stephen Schreiner
Executive Director (ex-officio)
6. Jay Patel
Appointed Director representing GOCA
7. John Handy
Appointed Director representing GOCA
MDOW = Motherís Day Out of Westchester
GOCA = Greater Oella Community Association
RECC = River's Edge Community Church