The Honorable Committee Chairman Thomas and Councilmembers, Schwartz, Mendelson, Wells, Catania, and other distinguished members of the Council; Thank each of you for all you do in behalf of the city in this important legislative role. I am Greg Rhett, President of the Eastland Gardens Civic Association. With me today are fellow members of our community who have been specifically selected to address the concerns of residents residing within our community and those who have a stake in the future of our community; Ms. Rochelle Frazier Gray, Commissioner Sharita C. Slayton, and Reverend Keith Kitchen. We are pleased to be here to participate in this important budget and financing discussion. While there are many elements to this hearing’s agenda, we only want to speak briefly about your consideration of FY08 funding appropriated and budgeted for the Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center.
The 10 acre Kenilworth-Parkside recreation center site opened in 1973 and features an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a football field and a track that was two lanes of bumpy gravel, six outdoor basketball hoops on concrete courts, and a handball wall. Since the center opened in 1973, let’s just say that far less money, time and energy have been applied to maintenance, upkeep, and modernization than was realistically needed.
In recent years, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee's D.C. subcommittee, sought to use the vast federal acreage near our recreation center to build a $5 million federally funded, 20-field soccer complex, but her efforts were blocked by our neighbors who argued that the community would be better served by a multi-use facility. We and Senator Landrieu successfully negotiated a compromise, and the federal grant was approved by Congress. Today, that $5M is being applied to renovating and building a new football/soccer field with lighted scoreboard, new bleachers, and stadium lights. The gravel track will be replaced by a regulation, all weather, six-lane track, a high school baseball diamond, repaved basketball courts and parking lot, and a concession stand complete with bathrooms and a storage shed. The new baseball field will be used by the Spingarn and H.D. Woodson high school teams.
Unfortunately, today, we are here to say that our center, in size and scope has been thoroughly outgrown by the size of the population that it must serve.