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City rec and parks to receive $41 million in federal stimulus money

Baltimore City's Greenmount Recreation Center.
Baltimore Heritage/Flickr
Baltimore's Greenmount Recreation Center. On Monday, Mayor Brandon Scott announced $41 million in ARPA funding for Recreation and Parks.

Baltimore City’s Recreation and Parks Department will receive $41 million in federal stimulus money for rec center maintenance and upgrades, public pools and playgrounds, Mayor Brandon Scott announced Monday.

The Democrat will draw the money from Baltimore’s $641 million American Rescue Plan Act stimulus. He will allocate approximately $10 million for public pools at Coldstream, Central Rosemont, McAbee Great Model, O’Donnell Heights and Towanda. About $20 million will go toward rec center improvements, while $5 million will go toward upgrades at about 20 playgrounds. Another $1 million will go toward trails and $2.2 million will go toward athletic fields and courts.

The investment will bolster young Baltimoreans’ outcomes by bolstering their access to clean, green, community-oriented spaces, Scott said at a news conference at the Curtis Bay Recreation Center.

“This is us putting our money where our mouth is by providing them with safe, up to date spaces where they can develop their skills for life, exercise and grow their productivity,” he said.

Rec and Parks executive director Reggie Moore said that city youth have sought even more solace at rec centers during the pandemic, as schools went remote and parents struggled financially. The agency reopened three previously shuttered rec centers – Bocek, Hilton and Towanda – during the pandemic.

“Simply, we just want to continue to make sure our parks and green spaces are open so that people can continue to visit,” he said. “We cannot wait until we get our first shovel in the ground, which I hope will be real soon.”

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.