Genny Dill, president of the Roosevelt Recreation Council, said she is still skeptical after a meeting with city representatives on Thursday night about Baltimore’s proposal to privatize the operation of dozens of recreation centers.
Dill said about 100 concerned residents from throughout the city attended the meeting at Chick Webb Recreation Center in East Baltimore. She said it’s the first communication from the city following the announcement it would start a second process to search for private partners to run dozens of recreation centers.
“We kind of feel a little pushed aside for right now,” Dill said.
Last month, the city announced it would be seeking more partners to operate recreation centers after an underwhelming response to the initial request for proposal put forward by the city. A request for proposal is a process used by governments to solicit private bids.
The in Hampden was one of a handful of centers to draw interest from a private organization. A group called Little Dimples Too has submitted a proposal to operate the center.
But residents active at the recreation center have been skeptical about the ability of Little Dimples Too to operate the recreation center.
Dill said she spoke with Bill Tyler, bureau chief of recreation, after Thursday’s meeting about continuing to work with the recreation center council to reach the best possible outcome.
“I’m optimistic—maybe too optimistic—that he’ll work with us,” Dill said.
She said the recreation council isn’t completely opposed to privatizing the operation of the center. But she said that if a group were to gain the council’s support, it would have to approach the community before responding to the city’s request and work with the community to shape any proposal.