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Administration Holding Judgment on Recreation Resolution

The City Council passed a resolution asking that the city maintain recreation spending.

The administration of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will withhold comment on a resolution asking for the state legislature to pass a bill requiring the city to maintain a level of funding for recreation after voters approved table gaming in the state.

In November, voters approved table games in the state, with 50 percent of the funds coming to Baltimore earmarked for maintenance, operation and construction of recreational facilities.

The City Council passed a resolution last week asking the city’s state legislators to add a provision to the bill requiring the city to maintain its spending level on recreation, in addition to the funds coming from gaming.

"If we are going to be receiving dedicated state funds toward recreation, then these new funds must be used to expand the City's shrinking recreation program, never as a replacement for our existing general fund commitments," Councilman Bill Henry, the resolution’s sponsor, wrote in an email to colleagues seeking co-sponsors.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilman Carl Stokes and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who represent parts of North Baltimore.  

A spokesman for the mayor said the administration would not comment until state legislators draft legislation, but pointed out in an email that Rawlings-Blake has made serious investments in the city’s recreation opportunities.

"…under the Mayor’s plan, we are investing nearly $20 million in rec center, building four new community centers, upgrading programming and hours at 10 others, and increasing staffing at 16 others. The remaining centers, according to the plan approved by the City Council in 2011, which have been underutilized and dilapidated for years, will close unless we can find partners to help provide programming," Ian Brennan, a spokesman wrote in the email.

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