Local News

12/13/2012

City will maintain community center for children

By NIKKI WILEY The Brunswick News

When the Glynn County Recreation and Parks Department takes over city recreation in January, it will stay away from the Roosevelt Lawrence Community Center on H Street.

The center will not be among the facilities that go to the county. It will instead continue to fall under the umbrella of the city because no structured athletic programs are offered at the building, said City Manager Bill Weeks.

The county will take over Howard Coffin Park and the city's athletic programs next month under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement that divides Local Option Sales Tax revenues between the two governments.

"(The county) said we really don't have an interest, or the people, or the structure to support the kind of programs of a local community center," Weeks said.

But the community center is an important part of life for city youth, and Brunswick plans to maintain it.

"Our plans are to maintain that one key site manager and probably hire another part-time person, a recreation aide who can help with that," Weeks said.

Children who attend the center have access to homework assistance, a computer lab, gymnasium and other age-appropriate activities.

"The staff and the community and the commissioners all indicated that it plays a vital part in the fabric of our downtown neighborhood," Weeks said. "Since the county wasn't going to assume any responsibility for that, we decided that we should maintain it."

It's a safe space for children to spend time in an encouraging environment, said Vanessa Booker, program manager for city recreation. She said some parents may be at work or unable to provide supervision over their children.

"For this to be here in the center of the city is important," Booker said. "It's a centrally located place they can walk to."

The county will run city recreation, as well as take over its animal control operations and traffic signal maintenance, in exchange for a larger share of the 1 percent LOST revenue starting in January.

The city now receives 35 percent and the county 65 percent. Under the new agreement, the city will receive 27 percent and the county 73 percent.