How to handle the downsizing and reorganization of Baltimore’s recreation centers – a contentious issue over the last six months – will be the subject of a “citizen’s briefing” by the Citizens Planning and Housing Association next Tuesday (May 1).
The meeting is free and will be held between 6-8 pm at the War Memorial Hall, 101 North Gay St., opposite City Hall.
With Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake seeking to rationalize and reduce the cost of rec centers by turning some facilities over to private parties, others to the school system – and close as many as eight centers – the meeting will explore “what alternatives exist to improve this important resource to our community,” said Mel Freeman, executive director of the CPHA.
Little Public Input
So far the discussion “is about buildings,” Freeman noted, and rec centers have been treated as pawns in “the big Baltimore City chess game” in which facilities are to be merged, privatized, expanded or closed with little public input.
“A great city should not be talking about buildings; it should be talking about well-run programs that are accessible to all citizens from infants to seniors,” Freeman said.
Speakers at the briefing will include Bill Tyler, chief of recreation, who has spearheaded the program to reduce the number of rec centers and modernize and expand key facilities. The CPHA also has compiled material on each of the city’s current 55 centers and their future prospects.
For more information and to register, see here.