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Former Rec Center Cleanup Set for Presidents Day

Volunteers and Greater Homewood Community Corporation employees will be working toward revamping the former Barclay Recreation Center.

Greater Homewood Community Corporation employees and neighborhood volunteers will be gathering to continue the process of transforming the former Barclay Recreation Center into a new community center.

Volunteers will gather on Presidents Day at 11 a.m. at the center, 300 W. 29th St., to begin cleaning and prepping the center for painting.

"The building itself is in kind of rough shape, sort of on the surface. It hasn’t seen some maintenance in a long time," said John Bernet, assistant director of neighborhood programs.

More than a year ago, Greater Homewood Community Corporation began working with Barclay School; the Abell; Charles Village; and Harwood communities to turn the closed center into a community hub that would provide activities for residents of all ages. The center was closed as part of the city's plan to reduce the number of recreation centers on its books.

Currently, stakeholders are working with the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business to develop a plan to turn the center into a self-sustaining entity. Hopkins has also agreed to fund the center with $40,000 a year for the next three years as seed money for the project.

"Our goal is to have a space that is largely self sufficient so its not something else that has to be fundraised for [every year]," Bernet said.

He said that plan ideally would involve some mix of fee for services or programs, mixed with free activities that would sustain the community center’s operating expenses.

As of now, the plan is to have the center open in a limited capacity by early May before school is out for the year. But before that can happen the structure, which was built in 1930 according to electronic state tax records, needs some maintenance.

"A good scrubbing and a fresh coat of pain will go a very long way," Bernet said.

Anyone interested in volunteering is strongly encouraged to contact Assistant Director of Neighborhood Programs John Bernet ahead of time.

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