Montclair Recreation Center, RIP?

Next on the budget chopping block is the historic Montclair Recreation Center.  While we’re philosophical about our city’s budget travails, the news about shuttering the Rec Center and all its programs feels like a sucker punch.

Admittedly, we’ve had time to adjust to Montclair Park’s staffing and facilities cutbacks over the past couple years, but are saddened about completely closing our park building too.  Read this note sent yesterday by Mark Zinns, Montclair Park’s recreation supervisor:

Hi Friends,

As you may know, there are some extreme cuts coming to Parks and Recreation because of the City’s budget shortfall.  No center is exempt including Montclair from complete closure.

If you can help, we need you to come to City Council this Thursday and speak on behalf of Parks and Recreation.  We will be having a rally around 4:00pm and council starts at 5:00pm.  You can register to speak on the City Council web site or fill out a card when you come.

Also, please spread the word to your friends and family about the dire circumstances.  Thank you.

Yes, every little drop of money matters now and the City of Oakland must remain solvent.  We aren’t sure that trying to save these remaining Parks and Recreation centers would even work out.  How depressing!

Well, we should do something. There are volunteers working on Montclair Park’s grounds today, and that same kind of local spirit might flow into the Rec Center itself.  We don’t know exactly how programs are organized without a director, but a couple classes soldier on:   the Montclair Hiking Club’s outings continue, right?

Perhaps another non-profit entity could ride in like a white knight.  There’s a modest model in place, with “Friends” groups who provide time and energy devoted to local resources.  While it took a while, the Shepherd Canyon Railroad Trail and Joaquin Miller Park groups are up and running now – and that’s due to efforts by local citizens who value our shared places.

We have to figure this out, and avoid saying:  Montclair Recreation Center, RIP.

3 thoughts on “Montclair Recreation Center, RIP?

  1. Sad state that our “leaders” have gotten us into. While the economy is in the dumps, huge give aways to City employees during the last boom period have totally handcuffed us now.

  2. I have been in public service my whole adult life, first in the Army, then with City of Oakland. While I am sure that any government agency has problems with “giveaways”, I have experienced a 20% pay cut over the last 2 years. I have never felt that I nor most of my fellow city employees are getting over-paid for our work, quite the opposite.

    As far as Montclair Rec Center goes, it is safe from closure for the time being, but the city budget will be in peril for the some time to come. We have a very large program serving over 100 kids per day and have had a growing demand for several years. Despite city cutbacks, we have being doing more with less. I am very proud of my staff and you should be happy that there is a dedicated group of city employees trying to make life better for Oakland residents. Most of my staff are young adults who earn very little and work very hard.

  3. Well Mark, you may have gotten a pay cut – but was this due to furloughs or actual reductions in hourly pay and benefits?

    The fact of the matter is that the City of Oakland Employees are some of the highest paid in the Country – at least according the the U. S. Census data I have seen as posted on another local Oakland Blog.

    And, property taxes in Oakland are among the highest is the State – the number of assessments we pay for is fairly ridicules.

    The sad fact is that our City Government has gotten us to this position by not planning for the future. And now we the citizen are going to get less services as a result.

    I am not some “I don’t expect to pay any taxes” kind of nut. And I do feel sorry for those effected by the economic down turn, be they city employees or others. However, it is clear to me that the spending of City government is out of whack.

    My family has used the Rec-center in the past, a found the services there to be good quality, and very affordable. I can say the same for other programs that we have attended run by Parks and Rec throughout the City. Given the current budget situation, I don’t see much of a choice but for the City to make cuts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s