Mayor Rawlings-Blake Joins Community to Celebrate the Groundbreaking for Community Center

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Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
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Jack French
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Center named after former councilwoman and community leader Rita R. Church. 

Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Council President Jack Young, State Delegate Cheryl Glenn, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, Councilman Robert Curran, Councilman Nicholas D’Adamo, Recreation and Parks Director Gregory Bayor, residents of the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community, and the family of the late Councilwoman Rita R. Church to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Rita R. Church Pavilion and Community Center. Located in the Clifton Park neighborhood, this is the first community center designed to meet the criteria of the Mayor’s Task Force on Recreation Centers.

“The Rita Church Recreation Center is a great example of our plan to expand recreation opportunities for people in our communities,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “It is the first community center specifically designed to meet the criteria of the Mayor’s Task Force on Recreation Centers, which will enhance recreation opportunities for the people of Baltimore by reviving old centers and offering activities that people want and will use on a regular basis.”

The project includes the renovation of historic structures, as well as the construction of new facilities. The project will be constructed in two phases. The first phase, to be completed by September 2012, will add locker rooms, an elevator, and mechanical rooms on the lower level. The second level of the building will house a lounge space, computer lab, kitchen/craft room, multi-purpose room, game room, and office space. The second phase, currently in design, will add 11,500 square feet and include a gymnasium, restrooms, and concession space.

 When complete, the new facility will have a multi-purpose space that is more functional than that of currently existing recreation centers. Programming elements for residents will be chosen by the community through meetings to determine what is best suited for young people, adults, and seniors.

“As a staunch advocate for expanding recreational opportunities for our youth and seniors, I am extremely pleased to join the mayor in celebrating today’s groundbreaking,” Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “The Rita R. Church Pavilion and Community Center will be a wonderful asset to residents of Clifton Park, and it continues our effort to increase access to quality recreation facilities and programming.”

The late Rita R. Church, often called “the Mayor of Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello,” was appointed to the Baltimore City Council and represented the 3rd District until her retirement in 1999. She served as a member of the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Board and with the Maryland Democratic Central Committee. Councilwoman Church was a member of the Baltimore City Planning Commission for four years. She worked for the Social Security Administration for 23 years.

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