Rognel Heights Rec Center will reopen as coalition-run facility BALTIMORE CITY

April 16, 1993|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,Staff Writer

For more than a year, the Rognel Heights Recreation Center in West Baltimore has been closed, a victim of budget cuts that left the city's recreation department without enough staff to run it.

Now the center, located in the 1200 block of Wicklow Road, will reopen as a community-based facility run by a coalition of eight community groups.

The Board of Estimates on Wednesday approved a contract with the Edmondson Village Community Coalition to operate the center in return for $100 monthly payments to defray the cost of utilities.

Under the contract, the coalition also would pay for liability insurance and repairs up to $500, but the city would retain ownership of the building.

"This is a first for us. We have never before taken an actual rec center and put it up for alternative use," said Stephanie Esworthy, administrative supervisor in the Department of Recreation and Parks.

The department hopes to turn four other closed recreation centers over to community groups in the near future, Ms. Esworthy said.

Among the groups involved in the coalition are two churches, a performing arts company and two community newspapers.

The building would be available to other groups that are not part of the coalition but want to use the center.

Dale Clark, vice president of Movements Unlimited Performing Arts Group Inc., said being able to use the building would give coalition members "a chance to make a difference."

"We're looking at doing more than providing pingpong, pool and basketball. We're looking at doing things like teen counseling," he said.

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