Baltimore - In southwest Baltimore kids don't have many options for a safe place to play. City and community leaders got together Thursday night to walk through the area and see first-hand how the lack of a rec center impacts the people living there.
"To have these activities gives these children something to do, a place to be that is supervised that is wholesome that is nurturing, where they cannot just have physical activity but you can utilize their minds as well," said Baltimore City Councilman William Welch .
But the Rosemont Rec Center on Rosedale Street doesn't do any of that; it's been empty for years. Right in its shadow Baltimore City Police Commissioner Batts Thursday chatted with the kids who live nearby.
Some groups are working to get the structure back up and running, fearful the children will turn to violence. The rec center closed its doors about 7-years ago, and city leaders say those original issues still need to be fixed before it can reopen.
"This rec center has a number of structural issues involved,” said Welch. “I spoke with rec and parks today and I ordered the engineering studies to tell us exactly what's wrong."
The Department of Recreation and Parks currently runs 38 rec centers , and about eleven others are part of schools or managed by private operators. Folks who are crunching the numbers say the city doesn't have the funds to revive the closed centers.
"The only way I see rec centers reopening is if we have partnerships with people who are willing to put their money and time into the rec center with programs that actually benefit our children," Welch said.