Rec center in Dundalk gets extension

June 06, 1993|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Staff Writer

The Dundalk Recreation Center has received a stay of execution.

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden, who cut funds for the center from his fiscal 1994 operating budget, has agreed to provide money to keep the center open through August instead of closing it July 1.

Mr. Hayden said he made the decision because he wanted to give the Dundalk-Eastfield Recreation Council more time to find a long-range solution to keep the center open

Mark Persiani, president of the recreation council, said Mr. Hayden's decision "is the first positive sign we've seen since February." That's when Mr. Hayden announced plans to reduce the size of county government. The recreation center in Old Dundalk was one of the casualties. The former YMCA building houses a variety of indoor recreational programs and has the only indoor Olympic-size pool in the county.

Mr. Hayden met with members of the community last week and said he would not commit any more county funds to keep the center open, but pledged to work with residents to find another way to save it.

A committee of recreation council members, community activists and business people met with county Department of Recreation and Parks officials Tuesday. The committee offered to try to raise $14,000 to keep the center open in July and August.

Recreation and Parks officials came back from the meeting and recommended instead to the county executive that county funds be used to keep the center in operation for two more months.

Both Mr. Hayden and Charles L. Fisher, Jr., deputy director of recreation and parks, said the fact that the local committee made the offer initially to raise the operating funds contributed to the decision to free county funds instead.

"Although the committee offered to raise the money, it was clear it preferred to concentrate on a long-term solution rather than worrying about finding money to keep the center open for two additional months," said Mr. Fisher. "We agreed with that approach and felt it was the fair thing to do for the county to use its funds."

Recreation and Parks budgeted around $72,000 in the current fiscal year budget to operate the pool, gymnasium and weight room in the center. Another $100,000 came from the Department of Central Services budget to pay for heating, lighting and maintenance.

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