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City names 10 recreation centers to stay open longer

Ten city recreation centers in areas with "high concentrations of at-risk youth" will remain open for extended hours throughout the summer to provide a haven for children.

The governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention will spend about $86,000 in overtime pay for staffers to keep the centers open for three extra hours from Tuesdays through Fridays for one month beginning next week.

"These funds will help keep neighborhood kids off the streets, giving them a positive and safe atmosphere to stay during those hot summer nights," said Gov. Martin O'Malley in a statement.

An additional $5,000 will be devoted to buying athletic, arts and school supplies for teen programs at the centers.

The recreation centers include Lillian Jones in the 1300 block of Stricker Street; Robert C. Marshall in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue; Samuel Morse in the 400 block of S. Pulaski Street; C.C. Jackson in the 4900 block of Park Heights Avenue; Patapsco in the 800 block of Roundview Road; Greenmount in the 2300 block of Greenmount Avenue; Chick Webb in the 600 block of Eden Street; Coldstream in the 1400 block of Fillmore Street; Crispus Attucks in the 1600 block of Madison Avenue and Fort Worthington in the 2700 block of E. Hoffman Street.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who joined O'Malley at an afternoon press conference, recently extended hours for swimming pools for Wednesday and today to help residents cope with the heat wave.

A preliminary city budget had called for the closure of more than half of the city's recreation centers, but the proceeds of a package of new taxes will be used, in part, to keep the recreation centers open throughout the summer.

City officials plan to convene a task force to chart a long-term plan for the Recreation and Parks Department, which could involve the permanent closure of underused recreation centers.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/juliemore

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