Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Announces New Plan for City Recreation Centers and Pools

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Bernard C. "Jack" Young
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James E. Bentley II
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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Announces New Plan for City Recreation Centers and Pools

$136 multi-million dollar plan will improve aging recreation facilities throughout the City

BALTIMORE, Md. (July 14, 2015)—Today, Mayor Rawlings-Blake along with Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP), and members of the community unveiled her new plan for the city's recreation centers and pools.

Under the proposal, more than $136 million will be invested in fitness and wellness, community centers, outdoor and indoor pools and splash pads, and athletic field complexes.

"Our goal is to transition the City's aging recreation centers into a new network of high quality facilities in order to better serve Baltimore's communities," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "This plan is a necessary investment in our City and a result of my commitment to quality recreation programming for all residents."

In addition to releasing the plan for recreation and parks, the Mayor requested that the City Council bring forward for a hearing the plan presented last year, to sell four city-owned parking garages in downtown and dedicate the proceeds to the recreation center improvements--funding that would enable construction to move ahead more quickly.

"Before I came into office, the City was closing recreation centers without any substantive plan to fill the gaps," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "With this proposal, and with the funding source that we have identified, we can provide better opportunities for our children to be safe and engaged. I urge the Council to give my plan a hearing."

Baltimore City currently operates 40 recreation centers. Under the new plan, no centers will close. Eleven fitness and wellness centers will be constructed at existing or new sites, adding a total of more than 299,000 square feet of new recreation space. Communities will be encouraged to participate in the design and program development of the centers. 

BCRP has made significant progress in addressing the needs of the community by expanding operating hours during the summer and scheduled Baltimore City Public School closings. Additionally, BCRP introduced new initiatives such as Healthy U, which provides professional fitness trainers and classes in recreation centers.

"Programming at the new complexes and facilities will build upon our vision to support active, healthy lifestyles," said BCRP Director Ernest Burkeen.  

Since 2011, BCRP has appropriated more than $46 million to build or extensively renovate five recreation centers and one park pool. The Rita Church and Morrell Park Centers were completed and opened in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The C.C. Jackson recreation center is currently undergoing expansion and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. Cahill and Cherry Hill centers and Druid Hill Park Pool are the next projects scheduled to undergo renovations.

For more information on the new plan please visit


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