Feedback

City to close 4 rec centers in August, 10 others may shut

UPDATED at 9 pm: The Rawlings-Blake administration announced late this afternoon that four city rec centers will permanently close at the conclusion of summer camp on August 10.

The centers – all located in West Baltimore – are Crispus Attucks, Harlem Park, Central Rosemont and Parkview.

In addition, as many as 10 more centers may close if qualified operators are not identified in a process the city will coordinate with the Family League “after the summer of 2012.”

They were identified as Gardenville, Furley, Solo Gibbs, James D. Gross, Hilton, Lakeland, Fred B. Leidig, James McHenry, Oliver and Mary E. Rodman.

Schools to Enter Partnership Agreements

Another five rec centers will be taken over by city schools for “public education and community uses” under a tentative agreement between the administration and the Baltimore City Public Schools, also announced today.

These centers – physically attached to school buildings – are Barclay, Liberty, Walter P. Carter, Leith Walk and South Baltimore.

After-school programming at the centers will be administered by independent parties, Michael Sarbanes, a spokesman for the city schools, said tonight.

The Barclay center will be run by the Greater Homewood Community Corp. and Johns Hopkins University; Liberty by Child First Authority and Ed Tech; Walter P. Carter by an unidentified basketball league; Leith Walk by We Imagine; and South Baltimore by Digital High School.

The administration said that the four centers to close “are located in close proximity to recreation centers that will continue to operate and are also located near private/non-profit recreational resources.”

In addition, two ex-Police Athletic League (PAL) centers closed in 2009 – Bocek in East Baltimore and Rosemont in West Baltimore – will be permanently shut.

Attempts to interest private parties to operate these facilities were unsuccessful, according to the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Spending for State-of-Art Centers

The city said it will spend $19 million over the next few years to build and extensively renovate four centers that will become “state-of-the-art, centrally located community centers geared to serve a wide range of ages and interests.”

The city will continue to operate 31 of the current 55 rec centers under today’s announcement.

The announcements come within hours of a citizens briefing tonight on the mayor’s rec center plans by the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CPHA) in the War Memorial Building opposite City Hall.

In a statement defending the closing of rec centers, Rawlings-Blake said, “Keeping the status quo with dilapidated buildings and depleted staffing and programming is not an option. We need to move forward and make the tough choices and smart investments to create a high-quality recreation center network that will help retain and attract families and grow Baltimore.”

Previously, the city struck deals with private parties to operate the Brooklyn O’Malley, Easterwood, Collington Square and Lillian Jones centers.

Several of these arrangement included one-time city grants of $50,000 or $100,000 to the new operators.

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • http://twitter.com/broadthinking Ashley Doran

    Meanwhile we have many kids that don’t have “the next few years” to hang out and wait for state-of-the-art. I, for one, am all in with helping find/fund a private solution for West B’more kids impacted by this. 

  • May 20, 2015

    • The Ingenuity Project has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to bring supplemental STEM programming to 500 high-achieving Baltimore middle-school students. Ingenuity provides about 530 of Baltimore’s advanced 6-12th graders with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and is hosted by three Baltimore City middle schools – Mount Royal, Hamilton, Roland […]

  • May 19, 2015

  • May 18, 2015

    • The height of the “home-away-from-home” social networking season is happening right now for Baltimore developers and a reduced flock of city officials in Las Vegas. In recent years, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ four-day RECon convention, which began yesterday, has become a magnet for local officeholders seeking to rub shoulders and share drinks with […]

  • May 14, 2015

    • With three homicides today, all during daylight hours, Baltimore continues to pile up casualties in what is becoming the city’s deadliest year in a decade. So far, there have been 90 homicides in 2015, according to Baltimore Police Department records reviewed by The Brew.  The number compares with 65 homicides at this time in 2014. […]

  • May 13, 2015

    • The city’s economic arm has announced a “Baltimore Business Recovery Fund” to aid businesses that suffered property damage or inventory losses during the April 27 riot. The goal is to raise $15 million, William H. Cole, president of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), said today. The money will be used to fund zero-interest loans of […]

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]

Twitter

Facebook