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New and improved Harlem Park recreation center to reopen Tuesday after seven years

The Harlem Park Recreation Center in West Baltimore will reopen Tuesday, nearly seven years after it was closed.

Baltimore City Recreation & Parks collaborated with the University of Maryland Medical Center to renovate and reopen the facility, which was among four rec centers closed permanently by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in 2012.

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The strategy at the time was to invest limited city funding in fewer, higher-quality facilities, but then-City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young opposed the closures.

Now that Young is mayor, he’s celebrating the reopening.

“Returning this essential community asset to the residents of Harlem Park has been a priority of mine since I was City Council President and I am proud that as Mayor I will be able to return this jewel to the community,” he said in a recent statement.

The renovated space on North Calhoun Street will include new lighting, books, games, sporting equipment and an upgraded multipurpose room. Community members are invited to the grand reopening ceremony at 2 p.m.

The city will host pop-up programs at the center beginning this Wednesday. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The center will be fully operational by September with youth and adult programs, volunteer opportunities, sports leagues and out-of-school learning. It will host summer camp next year.

Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks reopened the Patapsco Recreation Center in Cherry Hill in early 2019. Plans to renovate and reopen three additional centers are underway, according to the agency.

Of the other four closed by Rawlings-Blake’s administration at the end of the summer of 2012, only the Central Rosemont Center remains closed, though Recreation & Parks operates a neighborhood pool there. The Crispus Attucks Recreation Center in Madison Park was reopened in 2017, and the Parkview Recreation Center near Druid Hill Park also reopened.

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