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Montgomery invests more than $500,000 in repairing and reopening community centers

Mayor Steven Reed envisions a city where community centers play critical role in expanding services and opportunity for everyone

Montgomery, Ala. – Funding has been made available to begin extensive repair work at three long neglected Montgomery community centers. The city will invest more than half a million dollars into the three facilities with the most substantial longstanding issues, Capitol Heights, Houston Hill and McIntyre Community Centers, answering the call to shore up and reopen community centers in neighborhoods across the city. “We have ignored our community centers for way too long, and our city has paid the price for that,” Mayor Reed said. “It is incumbent upon us to provide our resident with safe facilities and activities. That’s a promise I made when running for mayor, and it’s one we’re going to keep.” Years of neglect and disinvestment due to the lack of available funding led to widespread deterioration that has resulted in critical repair and rehabilitation needs at many of Montgomery’s community centers. Mayor Reed prioritizes these projects as part of his administration’s plan to implement community-based solutions to solve systemic challenges, ranging from quality of life, education and opportunity to crime and poverty. Work will begin this week at Capitol Heights and Houston Hill Community Centers. McIntyre Community Center is in the spec development stage and will soon seek bids from contractors. Included in these specs is a new roof. Roofing leaks at McIntyre have been so significant that a portion of the gym floor has warped. In fact, staff have been forced to place 55 gallon receptacles on the floor to catch rainwater and prevent any additional warping.  After addressing issues at these three facilities, the City’s Parks & Recreation Department will take a triage or needs-based approach that will likely target Loveless Community Center. Reopening community centers is a cross-cutting theme of Mayor Reed’s Montgomery United Transition Report. The strategy also aligns with the findings of Montgomery’s first comprehensive plan in more than 60 years. According to the Transition Report, “There is broad support for the city to find ways to invest in renovating, reopening and staffing many of the community centers that are currently shuttered. This concept was discussed by several committees where committee members and members of the public reminisced about how youth mentorship and crime prevention programs used to take place inside of those facilities and the desire that exists to bring those back. Community centers can be used to provide more access to health and wellness programs. The centers could house arts programs for youth and incubation/shared spaces for the creatives to have access to equipment and space to hone their crafts. There were also conversations about the possibility of creating public private partnerships with non-profits and community-based organizations to assist with staffing the facilities to ease the financial burden on the city.”

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