By Terry Cords
The city of San Diego is moving to abolish the 52 community recreation councils and replace them with powerless and penniless “advisory groups.”
If the new policy regarding the operations of the recreation councils is implemented by the City Council, it will include removing the money the recreation council uses to support local community activities such as movies in the park, Halloween carnivals, spring egg rolls, summer activities, and Thanksgiving and Christmas season activities at the local recreation centers.
In the past, a small portion of all fees paid to rec centers for such programs as volleyball and basketball leagues were given to the rec councils to help with the operation of the rec centers and to stage community events.
Other local community support activities and projects that will be impacted are the recreation councils’ ability to provide funding to repair gymnasium equipment such as scoreboards, basketball hoop elevation equipment and resurfacing the basketball/volleyball hardwood floors. The purchase of sports equipment (balls, cones, whistles, air pumps, etc.) to support the youth sports programs that are run at the recreation centers will be impacted. Recognition rewards for the various sports programs (trophies, prizes, T-shirts, hats, etc.) to reward the participants will be impacted.
The recreation councils also provide financial aid to members of our community that cannot place their children in the nurturing and developmental programs (dance, gymnastics, tumbling, art enrichment and music, craft and cooking classes and sports activities) due to a limited income.
There are many activities the recreation councils support when city funds are not available. The recreation councils, along with Crusaders Soccer and women’s soccer, provided over $5,000 to reseed and recondition the grass parks and fields of the Navajo community when the city was not taking care of the park areas in 2011 and 2012.
This matter is going to the City Council for action by the end of October 2017 with the Park and Recreation Department planning on implementing the changes starting Jan. 1, 2018. Please contact Parks and Recreation director Herman Parker as well as San Diego City Council members and encourage them to keep our recreation councils so that they can continue to provide the great work they have proven they do for our communities.
—Terry Cords is chair of the Allied Gardens Recreation Council and the San Carlos Recreation Council.