Recreation Department racked by red ink - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Recreation Department racked by red ink

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Albany-- Every department in the city of Albany was told to slash costs by 10 percent.

To do that, the Parks and Recreation Department is considering shutting down a community center in East Albany, cutting back on some youth and adult sports and programs, and ending the July the 4th fireworks display.

Ceramics classes are just one of many programs the will be cut back to lower the Albany Parks and Recreation overall budget. Marketing Director Kristin Caso says, "We made some very difficult decision."

To save hundreds of thousands of dollars the recreation director is proposing to reduce the number of ceramics class, close the gyms during morning hours, cut one spring and one summer season for adult softball, end the fireworks display, close three lunch bag sites, and cut back on other athletic programs.

"Not offering quite as many things with some of the program, such as eliminating padded pants for youth football, cutting back from six to five games for youth football," said Caso.

The City's finance department is forcing all department to reduce cost by 10% and the recreation department also stands to lose two positions. "When you only have so much staff, you can only open so many centers," Caso said.

The solution-- close the Thornton Gym in East Albany.

Commissioner Henry Mathis says the people in east Albany are already under served and shouldn't be put on the chopping block again. "We've already lost the only swimming pool in East Albany, that staff was realigned to other areas. Now, Mr. Williams is considering closing Thornton, so I think that's a big concerns for the citizens over there that utilize the facilities."

Caso says people in east Albany can still use the Turner Gym, but Mathis says he'll fight to keep Thornton open. So, the battle over the budget begins. And the people of Albany will lose some recreational programs no matter what.

City commissioners must pass the final budget on June 28th.

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