Zumbathon helps Olney meet goal for police satellite station -- Gazette.Net



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While more than 50 people danced to Latin-inspired music at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School on Sunday, Olney Chamber of Commerce officials interrupted with an announcement.

The community had exceeded its goal in matching a $10,000 state grant to fund upgrades and repairs to the Olney Police Satellite Station, officials said.

Sunday’s Zumbathon event, organized by Beth Novick, owner of Olney Group Fitness, raised more than $700 for the cause through entry fees and raffles, while allowing adults and children to participate in the popular dance fitness program.

Last spring, District 14 legislators secured a $10,000 state grant to help replace the station’s roof, siding and front door, install a sidewalk, repair the walkway, landscape, paint and complete interior repairs. Because it is a matching grant, the Olney community was required to raise $10,000.

Del. Craig J. Zucker (D-Dist.14) of Brookeville said he is proud of the community’s efforts, ensuring that the Olney Police Satellite Station will remain in the community.

“This shows that when the greater Olney community puts their minds to something they can accomplish great things,” he said. “It also demonstrates that when the community takes a step forward, the District 14 team will have their backs.”

The Chamber had until June 2013 to raise the money. It launched the fundraising campaign in August and to date, contributions received from local businesses, homeowners associations, organizations and residents total nearly $12,000. Chamber Executive Director Jon Hulsizer said the amount includes a leadership gift from MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.

“In 2005, Chief J. Thomas Manger said that a lot of people saw the station and wondered if it made a difference. He said he knew that it did, and he believed it would continue to make a difference by keeping Olney safe. We agree,” said Trevor Waddington, Olney Chamber of Commerce president. “We’re so grateful to the District 14 legislators who worked on our behalf to secure this grant and equally grateful to our generous local businesses, neighbors and friends who helped us match the grant.”

The station, located in front of Giant Food at 17821 Georgia Ave., has served the community since 1997. It functions as a place for officers to conduct day-to-day operations, such as using the telephone, fax machines and restroom without having to leave the Olney area to return to the Fourth District station in Wheaton.

Community leaders say its presence deters crime and serves as a place for local residents and business owners to get information, report crimes and interact with local police officers.

Since the station’s opening, funding has been coordinated through the Chamber. The county is responsible only for electricity and the phone/data lines; the community covers all other expenses for the facility.

The Chamber reports more than $60,000 has been raised over the years, through contributions and community events such as Olney’s National Night Out.

The funds have been used to rent and later to purchase the trailer that houses the facility, and to fund its upkeep. A 2005 expansion included additional office space and a restroom.

The Chamber’s fundraising efforts have also enabled the purchase of three specially equipped bicycles designed for police use, as well as office equipment requested by the officers.

"We have a tremendous partnership with the community in the Olney area," said Lt. Marc Yamada, Fourth District deputy commander. "Their support of our efforts is constantly on display and this is just another example. Building and nurturing these partnerships is vital to the success of the mission of the police department as a whole, and in turn, it benefits the community."

Novick, who moved to Olney nine years ago, said she has been impressed by how its residents support each other and the local businesses.

“We all benefit from having police officers that are familiar with our community and can respond quickly when needed,” she said. “We're delighted to have played a part in helping the Chamber achieve its goal of $10,000.”

Although the $10,000 goal has been reached, Chamber Executive Director Jon Hulsizer said the need for ongoing routine maintenance is continuous

A plaque, listing all donors to the campaign, will be on permanent display at the station. The list will be updated quarterly.

“While attaining our goal for the matching grant will allow us to do some major upgrades and repairs, we will still continue to have ongoing expenses,” he said.

thogan@gazette.net