Philadelphia Parks and Recreation promised it for summer and then for October, but now it looks like the new roof will have to wait another two to four months, according to Kendrick Recreation Leader Bill Malizia. Money and infrastructure issues remain difficult for the center, despite program successes.
After meetings last winter and early spring and a canceled session in August and September, a slim Kendrick Advisory Council detailed the wants and needs of the center as it tried to rebuild itself. The center needs a handicap ramp, its tennis and basketball courts are in poor repair, electrical work needs to be done for a new computer room, and ultimately it will need a new gymnasium, if not an entirely new building.
Even when money is available, issues remain. For instance, the Parks and Rec department plans to repair the upstairs auditorium that now houses a boxing program and move the ring down to the basement once the Haunted House clears out after Halloween. However, Bruce Adams, who heads the program, argued that the space was currently inadequate and would require construction not in the plan. He fears the move will force him to “downsize the program” that has grown to 20 participants and operates six days a week.
A rebuilding moment
Only four people showed up to participate in the council, a turnout that Josh Cohen, Special Assistant to Councilman Curtis Jones called “a little disappointing.”
The Center had a vigorous council in the past, but its members like current president Brian Morris’ uncle Dave Morris got older and fell out of touch. Malizia and Morris are looking for new blood and new commitments from people concerned for the whole center rather than specific programs. At the meeting, however, they had only Gordon Fabrizio of the Pechin Monastary Town Watch fitting that description although others have expressed interest.
“The biggest thing is to get everyone together,” said Malizia. Once that happens, fund raising will improve as well, said Morris.
Cohen said that Councilman Jones wants to see “something major here” and considers Kendrick a priority. The councilman also recently awarded a $1,000 activity fund grant to the center.
Despite difficulties, some successes
Despite five break-ins at the center, Malizia says the center had one of the best summers.
Day camp enrollment jumped from 36 to 67 kids. There were no 911 calls made for incidents at the pool for the first time in recent memory. Programs like gymnastics can hardly accommodate their popularity. Twelve computers have been donated and a new art room is in the works. Theater can return to the center when the auditorium is renovated. Volunteers have painted and cleaned up. The next priority is installing a new roof but, for now, all leaks have been plugged.
The next meeting will be held on Nov. 27.