Community Mediation Center Closing

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

July 25, 2006

The Community Mediation Center of Charlottesville will not be open for business much longer.

Since their original supporters separated from them, the group has had a tough time.

"For the past two years we've been out on our own, but just haven't been able to make it financially since then," said the center's executive director, Cyndy Martin.

Since 1984, the non-profit center has been a resource for the community - as another option to settle disputes other than courts. It's the only facility that puts fees on a sliding scale, making mediation more affordable.

"I think it will impact the people who want to do mediation who don't go through the courts, who refer themselves and don't have the income to pay for a private mediator," said Martin.

Jane Dittmar is one of the 30 or so volunteers with the center and agrees that it is unfortunate.

"I think it's a real loss for the community. There is going to be some holes in the services we provide in mediation without them," she said.
Martin believes the shutdown may also put a burden on some area courts.

"There are a couple of other mediation centers in town which can pick up some of the slack, but they're small and I don't think they can do the volume that we've been doing," she said.

The closing could also effect the community in other ways, as the center also offers mediation classes and other programs to help families.

Those will most likely end as well.

"I think it's a great service and i think the community is going to miss it a lot," added Martin.

Martin said the facility needed about $50,000 a year to stay afloat.
They will close officially on Aug. 31.

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