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Henry Wants Hearing on Future of Rec Centers

Councilman Bill Henry wants the head of the Department of Recreation and Parks to appear before the Baltimore City Council.

Councilman Bill Henry plans to introduce a resolution requesting Gregory Bayor, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, and Bill Tyler, chief of the recreation bureau, to appear before the Baltimore City Council.

Henry wants to hold a hearing to get answers regarding plans for the city's recreation centers. The city has sought to help run many of its recreation centers through a request for proposal. A request for proposal is the process governments often go through when seeking private vendors.

But only seven organizations submitted bids to run recreation centers and Henry wants to know what will be the fate of centers that didn't recieve bids. The city hasn't ruled out the possibility of closing recreation centers that do not have private partners because of budget problems.

"They said they want to keep 30 open. But they've not been concrete about what they want to keep open," Henry said.

He said he would consider using rotating closures, as the city does with firehouses, instead of permanently closing a recreation center.  

"I'd like a commitment that we're not going to close rec centers when we can't find partners [to operate them]," Henry said.  

There are three recreation centers in the 4th District, which Henry represents, DeWees, Walter P. Carter and Leith Walk recreation centers.

Last week a spokesman from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office said many of the recreation centers in the city are in rough shape, and that the city needs to rethink the way it is addressing the needs of its residents.

The plan, recommended by the mayor’s Recreation Center Task Force, also involves expanding 10 centers and building four new community centers.

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