Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Camp Washington, Carthage rec centers could stay open in limited capacity

Even though "basic service levels will have to be reduced or eliminated", Cincinnati city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. says in a communication to City Council that the recreation centers in Camp Washington and Carthage should remain open.

In a meeting of council's Finance Committee on February 23, council members asked the city manager's office to look into cost-saving alternatives to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission's (CRC) plan to close the two centers to make up for a $145,000 budget gap.

During the 2009/2010 biennial budget process, council had directed the centers to stay open.

Dohoney says that the only alternative to closing the centers is to make drastic cuts, which would still leave the CRC with a deficit of $61,610 in this year's budget.

These cuts would include:

  • A reduction in operating hours at both centers by 50 percent
  • A shift of youth and teen programming from Camp Washington to McKie Recreation Center in Northside
  • Cuts, or total elimination, of senior and adult programming at Camp Washington
  • The loss of service to approximately 20 youth per day at Carthage
  • Holding a facility maintenance specialist position vacant for 2009
Dohoney recommends that the CRC pursue this alternative plan, and fund the remaining deficit with City contingency funds.

Council would be required to pass an ordinance to make the alternative plan happen.

On March 12, Councilmember and chair of the Vibrant Neighborhoods Committee Roxanne Qualls introduced a motion to keep the centers open, calling them "vital to the quality of life for residents of the Camp Washington and Carthage communities".

Councilmembers Laketa Cole, Cecil Thomas, and Chris Monzel also signed the motion.

Between 2000 and 2009, the CRC has seen its budget reduced by $4.1 million, Dohoney says.