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Wilmington Parks and Recreation Advisory Board pushing for better rec center funding

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© Members of Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board are lobbying city staff members to improve the quality of the city's recreation centers. © Members of Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board are lobbying city staff members to improve the quality of the city's recreation centers.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT)- Members of Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board are lobbying city staff members to improve the quality of the city's recreation centers.

The board met Wednesday evening where this was the main topic of conversation.

Several board members said they felt that the community centers aren't what they used to be.  They think the hours need to be extended to help get kids off the streets in a time where gang violence has become a major issue in the city  

The main center referenced in conversation was the MLK Center on South Eighth Street, a spot several community members feel has declined in quality in recent years.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said in a previous interview that the MLK center and other city rec programs have lost funding in the past few years due to the recession.

"We're all there together.  Not to point fingers- not to say what's wrong, but to say how things can be improved," said Charlie Rodstrom, a member of the advisory board.

Amy Beatty, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, told board members that recreation centers weren't the only programs suffering from funding cuts, and the board could not expect huge funding increases to come for specific centers.

"We've gone out and surveyed the community and we are talking with community leaders to try and determine if we are able to enhance our services, increase hours or provide additional resources- the best times and the best ways to do that," Beatty explained.

Although no monumental breakthroughs were made at the meeting, Rodstrom thought good progress had been made simply through discussion.

"You shouldn't emphasize what hasn't been done in the past.  What are we doing now?" Rodstrom questioned.

Beatty said the parks and recreation department is already requesting two part-time staff members.  Rodstrom thought this was a good start.

"We'd all like a new recreation center, but in the meantime you can hire people who also want to help out and teach the kids."

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