Annapolis is a "Playful City"...but there is a not-so-playful side... ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, August 27, 2010

Annapolis is a "Playful City"...but there is a not-so-playful side...

Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced that Annapolis has been selected as a Playful City USA Community for the second straight year. The honor recognizes the City for taking innovative approaches to make “play a priority” for the health and well
being of children.

“Annapolis is privileged to have abundant, quality park space for our
residents to enjoy,” Mayor Cohen said. “Under the direction of Recreation and Parks Director LeeAnn Plumer, the City has created play spaces for kids of all ages, be it a nature trail, a recreation center or playground. I commend my predecessor, Mayor Ellen Moyer, for her vision in spearheading many of these initiatives.”

Takoma Park, Chevy Chase, Laurel and Greenbelt join Annapolis as
Maryland cities being honored.

That was very nice of Cohen to mention Ellen Moyer so positively and she deserves thanks for leadership in that area, but right now, because there was too much playing around with our money during her watch, we teeter on the edge of default. That's nothing to play about. We're not talking "play money" of course and the new Recreation Center, our gleaming building on Hilltop Lane is a part of this story. We need to really take a good look at how this is funded, how it is operating and whether or not our city should even be in the business of running a fitness operation in competition with private enterprise.  Rec and Parks Director Lee Ann Plumer is a hardworking and dedicated public servant, but we should be looking at whether or not our department and our new center is viable in this extremely difficult budgetary crisis.

Of course it is nice to be recognized and I think that playfulness is important and a major aspect of quality of life. I also think that good fiscal management is important too--and necessary to allowing playfulness.

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Janet Norman said...

I think we need to talk about Rec Center funding...and the expectation that the City govt has that the Rec Center will be profitable within 1 year of opening (any restaurant or other business expected to meet this goal immediately?) Meanwhile, the city ties the hands of the Rec Director not letting her decide on marketing promotional fees, 1 day events, etc. like any real business could and would to stimulate patrons and revenue. If you've been there, you see how diverse the users are - young, old, black, white, hispanic, new exercisers and seasoned athletes, all folks who EXACTLY need this center. And many who would not use a private health club. Let's not let the city "Market House" this one to death. Time to cut the overall city employee bloat and allow the Rec Center time to thrive....

Paul Foer said...

Janet Thanks as always. The problem is one of the role of local government. Operating parks and running recreation programs etc is one thing, but a fitness cetner is another, especially when it creates unfair competition for the private sector AND it loses money. If money can be made in the private sector, let it do this. I am not sure if the Rec Center can ever thrive. We spent big bucks for the things to look nice on the surface but ignored our water system underground.

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