Racine Community Centers to Extend Hours of Operation Next Year Thanks to Federal Grant and Community Advocacy | Local news
RACINE – The Racine municipal council voted unanimously in favor of allocating a maximum of $ 112,500 to extend the opening hours of community centers in the region.
The funds will come from the federal public service Community Development Block Grant, which has not yet been officially allocated for the year 2022, but will range between $ 250,000 and $ 300,000.
The purpose of the allowance is to offer extracurricular and weekend activities in order to offer young people constructive and safe activities during the coming year.
All centers would add a total of three hours of overtime Monday through Thursday so that facilities can stay open until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. In addition, the extended hours will include the following:
- At least three staff from the Bryant, King and Chavez community centers, and at least two staff from the Tyler Domer and Humble Park community centers.
- Humble Park and Tyler Domer will reopen Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. with a minimum of two staff.
- All centers will add a total of 4 overtime hours on Saturdays with a minimum of three staff at Bryant, King and Chavez; and a minimum of two staff at Humble and Tyler Domer
- Bryant will add 4 additional hours per week for the music program.
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Jason Mars, the city’s superintendent of recreation and culture, said there are several plans underway that will give young people more opportunities to participate in their community centers.
In addition to opening gyms and multi-purpose rooms for additional programs, plans are also underway for some collaboration between the parks department and other organizations.
The first collaboration is with the Racine Public Library and the City’s information systems staff. Mars explained that the project would support public access to computers, computer programs and could possibly involve lessons in robotics, coding, or a number of other things related to technology.
He said, “This is the one we’re trying to push forward.”
A second project that is also underway involves partnering with a local nonprofit organization to bring in gaming systems, games, and computers.
Mars said the community has started a slow return to community centers following the COVID upheaval.
“The important thing is to have activities where you can still distance yourself socially and follow safety protocols,” he said.
Respond to the community
Although not specifically mentioned at Tuesday’s city council meeting, extending the hours of operation of community centers was one of the demands made at a Stop the Violence and Pray Vigil rally held. in September following a series of shootings.
The rally was organized by the Restoration Ministries and was facilitated with the help of several organizations in the region, including Racine Women for Racial Justice.
Kelly Scroggins-Powell, Executive Director, said, “We are grateful for this huge gain for the youth in our communities who will have access to safer spaces in neighborhood communities. “
However, she added that the demand for expanding community center opportunities was only partially met, as the other half of the demand was “the city is using endowment funds to hire local neighborhood workers who represent those served in neighborhood centers “.
The Stop the Violence rally and prayer vigil brought together many local representatives, such as: Aldermen John Tate, Maurice Horton and Marcus West and County Supervisors Nick Demske, Jody Spencer, Fabi Maldonado and Edward Santiago
“We are grateful to the representatives who witnessed the cries and concerns of the people,” said Scroggins-Powell.
She added, “Our partnership with community leaders from the Root Interfaith Coalition like Corey Prince and the clergy, namely Bishop Ford, has proven that when we come together and amplify the voices of those most affected, we get results.”
She concluded by thanking Mayor Cory Mason and Racine City Council “who honored the voice of the people”.
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