12-20-11: The Plan Behind Privatization
At the Lillian Jones Recreation Center in the Upton neighborhood in west Baltimore, after school activities include roller skating, drama, and crochet. It’s one of 55 city-run rec centers operating in Baltimore. But it might not be city-run for long: Baltimore hopes to turn the operation of up to 25 rec centers—including Lillian Jones—over to private organizations. The city is short on money, and hopes that doing so would save about $400,000 a year.
A first request for proposals attracted fewer than 15 bids – the city is now in the middle of a second RFP. Meanwhile, the Board of Estimates, which is responsible for awarding contracts, will vote tomorrow on the fate of four rec centers that were bid on in the first round.
Originally, the city budget office has said that if private partners aren’t found, the city would need to make some changes to rec center operations after December 31—a little over a week away.
Sheilah discusses this with Bill Tyler, Chief of Recreation for Baltimore’s Parks Department.