City to begin Hampden center repairs this week

Ceiling collapsing, heating system faulty

October 30, 2007|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun reporter

Baltimore parks officials are scheduled to begin repair work this week to fix a partially collapsed ceiling, cracks in walls and a faulty heating and air system at a Hampden recreation center, problems community advocates say stem from a botched $1.3 million renovation of the building last year.

The auditorium at Roosevelt Park recreation center has been closed for months after chunks of the ceiling began falling, leading volunteers to demand that the city have the problems fixed. The auditorium's closing has disrupted the schedules of many who use the center for community meetings and after-school activities, including dance, jazz and karate classes.

Recreation and Parks officials yesterday met with the contractor, Mirabile Construction Co. Inc., to review some of the complaints. The contractor is expected to fix the heating and air system by the end of the week, parks officials said.

A bid contract to repair the auditorium ceiling is slated to go before the Board of Estimates tomorrow. City parks officials said they expect work to begin in two to three weeks.

The city's General Services Department will exterminate rodents, fix cracks in the walls and begin a sealant project in the basement by the end of the week, parks officials said.

Last week, representatives from Recreation and Parks, the mayor's office, the City Council and the Hampden Community Council toured the center. Allen Hicks, president of the Hampden Community Council, threatened action against the city if repairs did not begin by Nov. 1. Hicks declined to say what form the action might take.

Hicks and other Hampden residents say they have asked the city to fix the center for months. Yesterday, Hicks said he would remain skeptical until he sees workers repairing the center.

Roosevelt Park, at 1221 W. 36th St., has been a neighborhood fixture since 1911. Repairs closed the center for a year. It was reopened in September 2006.

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