[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.]