2 groups to take over Mount Airy rec programs Parks director proposes southwest activities board

February 26, 1997|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Carroll County officials have parceled out to two community groups the spring sports and adult recreation programs formerly run by the now-defunct Mount Airy Recreation Council.

The arrangement with the Mount Airy Youth Athletic Association (MAYAA) and the Woodbine Recreation Council could become permanent, officials said.

In a related matter, Richard Soisson, director of the county Recreation and Parks Department, proposed yesterday the creation of a Southwest Recreation Council, which would serve the Woodbine and Mount Airy areas. His proposal was outlined before Carroll and Frederick commissioners and Mount Airy officials, who meet annually to discuss shared concerns of the border town.

Carroll recreation officials dissolved the Mount Airy Recreation Council three weeks ago after six of seven board members abruptly resigned. The council had been embroiled in a 10-month dispute with supporters of former girls soccer coach Betty Jenkins, who contended that the council unfairly dismissed her without a hearing.

The county's action to dissolve the council left turmoil in the community and doubt about Carroll's commitment to Mount Airy, said Pamela Zeller, former recreation council secretary and the only member who did not resign.

Soisson said he was "very confident" the Mount Airy Youth Athletic Association could handle spring youth sports -- soccer, T-ball and softball.

The Woodbine Recreation Council picked up Mount Airy's adult programs, which included karate, aerobics and dance, he said. The creation of a Southwest Recreation Council depends on the department's assessment of MAYAA's handling of spring sports, Soisson said. He said the council might handle only adult programs, leaving MAYAA to continue youth sports.

Fear of being shut out

Zeller and other residents expressed concern that the county might try to shut out non-Carroll residents.

Soisson said Frederick, Howard and Montgomery County residents will continue to be allowed to participate in recreation and youth sports programs.

"But if we start a Southwest Recreation Council, we may well limit membership in that council to Carroll County or Mount Airy residents," he said. "But that would not preclude people who live outside those areas from participating in activities."

MAYAA representatives seem interested in broadening their traditional programs, Zeller said. Some community members worried that girls sports would be shut out because MAYAA primarily has sponsored baseball and football for boys and cheerleading for girls.

"The general feeling I get is that people are at least open-minded to see if MAYAA will follow through with this," Zeller said.

Robert King, MAYAA president, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Woodbine Recreation Council has not discussed Soisson's proposal for a southwest council, said Nancy Stockdale, community coordinator. She said Woodbine is a small council that offers few programs.

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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