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New Horizons facility delayed

Construction on long-awaited center for low-income children has yet to break ground.

July 13, 2010|By Melanie Hicken,
(Raul Roa )

GLENDALE — A new child-care facility for one of the city's largest nonprofit after-school programs for low-income children shows no sign of starting construction any time soon after years of planning and delays.

Construction on New Horizons Family Center's long-awaited "Children's Village Nuestra Casa" was to begin last spring after years of delays and hundreds of thousands in government funding. But months after the nonprofit's founder told city commissioners the project was about to break ground, the lot on the 1200 block of South Maryland Avenue sits unchanged.

The two-story project would expand child-care services for low-income families at the center, which has been grappling for years with how to accommodate growing demand and longer wait lists.

In March, New Horizons founder Maria Rochart told the Community Advisory Block Grant Committee that the project was finally scheduled to begin construction.

"You're all going to wear hard hats in April," she said. "The Children's Village is ready to break ground."


The statement came more than two years after Rochart secured a variety of zoning variances and environmental approval needed to move the project forward.

More than $200,000 in city federal block grant and economic stimulus funding has been spent on the project.

Rochart unexpectedly stepped down from her post as executive director of the center in April — citing potential conflict-of-interest concerns in her new role as a Los Angeles County commissioner — but said she would continue to guide the center's development as a paid consultant.

She could not be reached for comment. Angie Gonzalez, Rochart's replacement, did not return repeated phone calls for comment.

Gary Hopkins, president of Glendale-based George Hopkins Construction Inc., the project's contractor, said he did not have an updated construction schedule for the project.

"We're kind of waiting for them," he said Friday.

When speaking to the Community Advisory Block Grant Committee, which makes federal funding recommendations to the City Council, Rochart warned of a possible shortfall when requesting an additional $150,000 for the project.

"We might be short, and that's why we're here," she said, adding that she wanted to be sure she could "finish the project that we promised the city of Glendale we would come up with."

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