Mayor Sanders’ new budget avoids cuts to rec centers in OB, elsewhere
The Ocean Beach Recreation Center — like similar centers across San Diego — had been targeted for cuts to its operating hours in Mayor Jerry Sanders’ initial budget proposal for the city’s next fiscal year.
Under an updated proposal Sanders released last week, however, the city’s rec centers would maintain their current 40-hours-a-week schedule. Sanders originally had slashed rec centers hours by half, but his new plan reflects the better-than-expected performance of the local economy in recent months.
On a recent Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., with the neighborhood’s “Beach Ball” event in full swing a few blocks away near the pier, the OB rec center’s gymnasium hosted a ballet recital in front of an audience of about 35 people. The performance included students from ballet classes held there on Tuesdays.
The center’s meeting room — used regularly by residents and local groups like the Ocean Beach Planning Board — was empty that afternoon. In the center’s main hallway, the faint signature of music from the recital blended neatly with an extended segment of church bells from Sacred Heart that carried in through the windows.
Outside, three young men played the hoops derivative “21” on the basketball court. Across the alley, about a dozen children and adults frolicked in the rec center’s playground at Ebers Park.
From August 8 through August 26, the city will once again set up a temporary swimming pool for children on the rec center grounds. The pool will be used for swimming classes and, after 4 pm, will be available for open swimming for kids.
“Last year (the pool) was very successful,” said Cristiana, a rec center employee. “The kids loved it.”
OB’s rec center hosts classes in subjects from karate to contemporary dance, many geared for children.
The center’s indoor and outdoor basketball courts, which are open year round, draw about 40 players — mostly men — on a typical day, another employee estimated. Leagues for sports such as adult coed dodgeball also bring in dozens of participants and spectators regularly.
The rec center offers a lunch program for senior citizens, which features food from Souplantation for $3.50 per person. A source familiar with the lunch program said it was formerly managed by the city and offered every day, but is now organized by a volunteer and takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The city’s website says the OB rec center was “dedicated in 1950” and “is one of the oldest (rec centers) in the City.” Frank Gormlie, editor of The OB Rag, remembers attending dances with live bands at the rec center when he was a teenager living in the area many moons ago.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune:
“the Park and Recreation Department has an $83.5 million budget and 757 workers who maintain and operate 55 recreation centers, 13 pools and nearly 40,000 acres of public parkland throughout the city.”
With about 1.3 million people in San Diego, that budget works out to just over $60 per resident, per year.
Monday: kids tumbling and dance; adults dance; all-ages karate
Tuesday: kids ballet; adults pottery and clay sculpture
Wednesday: all-ages karate
Thursday: kids ceramics, tap dance, jazz dancing and ballet
Friday: ages 1 to 5 gymnastics; ages 3 to 5 sports introduction
Saturday: sewing for teens and adults
for more details, see the center’s program guide
Community members on the OB Recreation Center Council “work with city staff to promote recreational activities for the citizens of Ocean Beach,” says the rec center’s brochure for winter/spring 2011. The council meets at the rec center on the second Tuesday of every even month at 6 p.m., and its next meeting is June 14.
The OB Rec Center takes reservations for Dana School Fields, Bill Cleator Fields, Plumosa Park Dusty Rhodes Park and Collier Park by phone at 619-531-1527.
Other nearby rec centers include the Cabrillo Recreation Center at 3051 Canon Street near Rosecrans Street and the Presidio Recreation Center at 2811 Jackson Street near Old Town.
San Diego could use help from volunteers at rec centers, pools and parks across the city. To learn more, contact the volunteer office at 619-533-4017.