WINCHESTER — A successor to the defunct Timbrook Youth Reporting Center is in the works.

The new Timbrook Achievement Center would be based at the Youth Development Center at 3 Battaile Drive and, like its predecessor, provide an alternative to detention for at-risk teenagers.

City Council agreed at its work session Tuesday night to authorize City Manager Eden Freeman to apply for a $141,684 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Alternative Interventions for Status Offenders grant, which would fund the program’s operations from Jan. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021. According to documents shared with council, program costs are not expected to exceed $25,000 per quarter.

The Timbrook Achievement Center would be overseen by Program Coordinator Laura Lee Harper and an administrative assistant, with additional support from Frederick/Winchester Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Elizabeth Kellas and Youth Development Center Executive Director LaTasha Do’zia-Earley.

The center would be a “community-based organization working in collaboration with its other community partners ... to establish intervention programs that target juveniles with truancy or other disruptive behavior problems who are at risk for further delinquency,” council documents state.

Freeman said it’s a mission that builds upon the one followed by the Timbrook Youth Reporting Center, which closed at the end of 2016 due to budget and staffing limitations.

The Youth Reporting Center began on Jan. 3, 2011, as a joint effort between the Winchester Police Department and Winchester Public Schools, with staffing and support from city schools, Winchester’s judicial system and numerous nonprofit agencies. Funding was provided by the city, the school system and an approximately $32,000-a-year federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.

Teenagers enrolled in the after-school program received career counseling and drug and alcohol awareness information, as well as daily academic support from city teachers.

By 2014, enrollment at the center had grown to include 18 teenagers who had gone through the court system and/or had behavioral or truancy problems.

The Youth Reporting Center’s federal grant expired Sept. 30, 2014, but the city and school system continued to fund and staff the center for two more years.

The center was based in the Timbrook House at 305 E. Piccadilly St. The house is now utilized by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition’s Northwestern Regional Drug Treatment Court program.

City Council voted 7-0-1 Tuesday night to seek grant funding for the new Timbrook Achievement Center at the Youth Development Center. Councilor Judy McKiernan, an employee of Winchester Public Schools, abstained because of the school system’s involvement with the proposed program.

The grant’s application deadline is Monday, so council plans to retroactively adopt a resolution formally approving the application’s submission at its next meeting on Aug. 27.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting and work session, City Council:

  • Unanimously approved ordinance amendments requested by the Winchester Parking Authority to abolish Lee-Jackson Day as a free parking day and replace it with Columbus Day, lessen parking restrictions on utility vehicles, authorize the towing of vehicles that park in city garages for 72 hours or more without a monthly parking permit, and change parking meter coin collections from daily to weekly.
  • Unanimously approved, with one abstention, a resolution authorizing Winchester Regional Airport to seek a $1.5 million loan for the purchase of an existing hangar at the airport in Frederick County. Since the airport is a municipal partnership between five member jurisdictions, including Winchester, the governing bodies of each jurisdiction needed to approve the request. Councilor John Willingham abstained from the vote.
  • Unanimously approved a resolution to add a Planned Unit Development (PUD) designation to three parcels totaling 4.8 acres at the corner of Hope and Valor drives. The property, which has Highway Commercial District (B-2) zoning, is the site of a proposed mixed-use complex, Harrison Plaza, that would include 70 apartments and nearly 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of $16.9 million in public improvement bonds to fund previously approved projects including Valley Avenue drainage and sidewalks, an extension of Hope Drive, renovations at the city-owned Creamery Building, and renovations of the Winchester Public Schools-owned Douglas Community Learning Center and Shihadeh Innovation Center.
  • Unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the update of a service agreement between the city and the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties.
  • Unanimously approved a resolution to construct a fence around a new stormwater retention pond that will be built as part of the Hope Drive extension.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward a resolution approving the creation of a regional economic development organization. The Economic Coalition of the Northern Shenandoah Valley would include representatives from the economic development authorities of Winchester, Frederick County and Clarke County.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward an ordinance to add a PUD designation to a 0.95-acre property zoned Medium Density Residential (MR) at 410 and 412 Smithfield Ave. The change would legalize the three apartments that already exist at the site.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward an ordinance to rezone a 5-acre tract at 2508 Papermill Road, partially occupied by Winchester Noland Co., from Intensive Industrial (M-2) to Commercial Industrial (CM-1). The change would align with the zoning designations of two adjacent properties to the south.
  • Unanimously approved, with one abstention, an ordinance adopting Winchester’s annual action plan for use of Community Development Block Grant and HOME fund allocations. Willingham abstained from the vote.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward a resolution approving the Northwestern Community Service Board’s performance contract for fiscal year 2020.
  • Unanimously agreed to forward an ordinance granting an access easement to a 9-foot-wide strip of city-owned property at 218 Baker St. The easement would allow Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity to build a driveway behind a home proposed for construction at 216 Baker St.
  • Unanimously agreed, with one abstention, to forward the reappointment of Willingham to a three-year term on the Frederick-Winchester Service Authority, expiring Aug. 31, 2022. Willingham abstained from the vote.
  • Met in executive session for one hour to discuss board appointments and a potential real estate transaction. No action was taken following the closed-door discussions.

Attending Tuesday night’s City Council meeting and work session in Rouss City Hall were Mayor and council President David Smith, Vice Mayor John Hill, Vice President Evan Clark and councilors Kim Herbstritt, John Willingham, Les Veach, Corey Sullivan and Judy McKiernan. Councilor Bill Wiley was absent.

— Contact Brian Brehm at bbrehm@winchesterstar.com

(1) comment

Anna Thomson

Excellent idea!

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