Daily Archives: January 17, 2009

Residents disapprove of plan to cut downtown Phoenix rec center’s hours

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The city’s plan to close Verde Park’s recreation center nine months a year will increase crime in the Garfield neighborhood, residents said.  Those residents joined about 300 people who packed a room in the South Mountain Community Center earlier this week. Most were there to voice their concerns about a proposal to cut $270 million in city services and programs.  Phoenix faces the $270 million shortfall because consumers have drastically cut back spending, hurting the sales tax-dependent city’s general fund.  That fund bankrolls key city services like parks, police, and libraries.

Proposals to reduce recreation-center hours, a plan to eliminate after-school programs and a proposal to shutter five senior centers drew the most fire from residents.  Without places to go, some kids will turn to crime, said Guillermo Barreras, 15.  “I need a place were I can go during the day,” said Barreras, adding he often goes to the recreation center at Verde Park at Ninth and Van Buren streets.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix parks board officials try to lessen budget cuts

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton Arizona Republic] — Members of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board hope to show their passion for a good cause dear to them.  At stake: the fate of the city department they represent, a department facing dire budget cuts.  To lessen the cuts, board members suggest:

  • Trimming the Public Safety Department budget by an additional 1% (under the current proposal, police and fire leaders each would cut an estimated 7.5% of their operating budgets).
  • Creating a sales tax on groceries.
  • Enlisting community leaders to encourage philanthropy.

To get their message across, members are showing up at each of the 14 meetings scheduled to let the community share concerns about upcoming city budget cuts.  The meetings began Tuesday and will conclude Jan. 27.  Board chairwoman Diana Brooks said the meetings are a chance for members to do what they can to speak up for the Parks and Recreation Department and perhaps lessen the proposed cuts.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]