City Releases Recreation Center Implementation

Plan includes $19m in capital investment, expanded programming and staff, afterschool programs and community partnerships.

BALTIMORE (May 1, 2012) — Today, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP) released the final Recreation Center implementation plan to transition the City’s aging recreation center network into a new network of high-quality community centers to better serve the recreational needs of the citizens of Baltimore. The final plan includes $19 million in new facility investments, expanded programming, additional operating hours, new afterschool program opportunities, and public private partnerships. The plan is based on the community-driven 2011 Recreation Center Task Force Report.

As part of the Task Force review process, BCRP conducted a thorough assessment of current recreation centers and used a systematic evaluation method, which analyzed potential gaps in service, center use and participation, open space for future build-out, current facility conditions, and proximity to other service providers, among other factors.

“This restructuring plan is bold and innovative but not without tough choices. In the end, it’s the right thing to do for Baltimore's future,” Mayor Stephanie 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.”

“Our recreation staff wants to offer quality programs in quality facilities for more hours per day. To do this we need adequate staffing levels and buildings that can accommodate, which means consolidating resources,” said Acting BCRP Director Bill Vondrasek. “This means change from the status quo, and change is always difficult. However, I am confident the community will begin to understand why we made these tough decisions when they experience the improved services and offerings at the new and expanded centers.”

Baltimore City Recreation and Parks has laid out a multifaceted approach to ensure high-quality recreational services for all areas of the community:

  • Over $19 million is slated to build and extensively renovate four new state-of-art, centrally located community centers geared to serve a wide range of ages and interests;
  • As part of the fiscal year 2013 budget, BCRP will operate 31 improved recreation centers and will leverage partnerships and outside resources through the lease of eight centers to private operators, the lease of six centers to Baltimore City Public Schools, and permanently close four center centers at the conclusion of summer camp on Aug. 10 (two centers out-of-operation since 2009 will remain closed). Afterschool programs will be provided at 10 centers in coordination with the Family League of Baltimore City;
  • There are no layoffs of existing recreation center staff. Operational hours and number of staff will be increased at the 31 City recreation centers;
  • BCRP will offer 45 summer camp programs for Baltimore City youth from June 25 until Aug. 10, 2012;
  • BCRP will implement a computerized recreation registration system (RecPro) to monitor program participation, allow online registration for programs and memberships, and make facility rentals more convenient.

For details of the final Recreation Center Plan, see thisImplementation Plan Fact Sheet

Understanding the importance of a successful transition to the new recreation center model, BCRP will receive an increase of 2.4 percent to the recreation center service, or an additional $249,796 in the fiscal year 2013 budget. Additionally, BCRP has established $200,000 to fund scholarships to pay for program costs for youth who cannot otherwise afford them.

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