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Recreation in Westminster always a hot topic during summer [Column]

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The City of Westminster and Carroll County's Department of Recreation and Parks have joined the National Recreation and Parks Association in celebrating National Recreation and Parks Month.

According to NRPA.org, the theme for this year's month-long celebration is "OUT is IN."

On April 7, 1922, the Democratic Advocate published an editorial about "Westminster and the recreation problem."

"Our fathers did not have recreational centers. Why should we have them now? Our fathers did not have telephones, automobiles, electric lights, rural free delivery of mails, and many other conveniences which we now enjoy. Shall we dispense with them because they were unknown to the previous generation?

"We cannot do business as our fathers did. Can we take our recreation as they did? In the early days work and play were combined. The men of a community would gather for 'clearing the new ground,' 'log rollings,' 'barn raisings.' 'harvesting parties' 'husking bees,' and the like.

"At the same time the women had their 'quilting parties' and did the cooking for the community feast. In the evening there were the community plays. Those days are gone never to return."

On July 11, 1947, the Westminster Lions Club "announced plans for the formal presentation [to the Westminster mayor and town council] of the playground night lighting system.

"The club members sponsored the recent carnival for the purpose of devoting the proceeds towards a lighting system on the Municipal Playground," the newspaper reported.

On July 1, 1949, the Westminster Kiwanis Club announced that it would sponsor the "first playground program in a series of special events to be held on the Westminster playground for the children…"

According to an article in the Democratic Advocate, "The annual bicycle, tricycle, doll carriage and wagon brigade will be a gallant event for the boys and girls of Westminster and will take place on the playground… The judges will be three members of the Kiwanis club: Paul Bonsack, David Scott and Stephen Lerda."

A quick review of the Westminster City Recreation and Parks website (http://westminstermd.gov/368/July-is-Recreation-and-Parks-Month) does not indicate that Kristi Turgeon, the administrative coordinator for the Westminster Department of Recreation and Parks or Abby Gruber, the director of the department, have scheduled any of the events mentioned by the 1922 editorial or the 1949 newspaper article. Must be an oversight on the part of the city.

When pressed for a comment in a recent e-mail interview, Gruber did say, "Parks and recreation programs and facilities make communities desirable places to live, work and visit thereby contributing to economic vitality, healthy lifestyles and respect of natural areas and resources ultimately promoting a vibrant, productive, responsible citizenry."

No word if that includes clearing land, log-rolling or cooking for the menfolk in the community.

We will continue to press the Westminster recreation department to see if there are future plans for any "tricycle, doll carriage and wagon brigades." Just saying.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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