The Community of Curtis Bay Association (CCBA) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Curtis Bay Recreation Center Sustainability Committee.
The focus of this committee is to develop long-term solutions to address the substantial challenges presented by the proposed new development of a recreation center on the border between Brooklyn and Curtis Bay. Curtis Bay is currently facing a unique situation where Baltimore City is proposing a location for the center that the majority of our residents do not support. Nevertheless, the city intends to proceed with the development.
The concerns raised by residents and youth who utilize the center primarily revolve around the inaccessibility of the proposed new center. Additionally, there are concerns about the perceived lack of safety for the youth at the proposed site. Furthermore, the removal of a public space that has been utilized for decades as a voting center and a hub for civic life and recreation has caused significant discontent amongst residents.
In an effort to offer a compromise, the City has proposed to transfer the existing building under community control. However, this building requires substantial investment and long-term operating funds to ensure its viability. Therefore, the primary goals of our committee will be to secure funding commitments in order to address the major areas of community concern to ensure the long-term sustainability of both the existing building and the newly proposed center:
- Safety at Both Locations: Residents and youth who currently use the 1630 Filbert St location have indicated a strong reluctance to use the new center due to public safety concerns. In addition, the spread of coal dust and other pollutants poses a public health concern at both locations. The community, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, is actively monitoring this situation and seeking measures from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to mitigate this risk. Furthermore, the concentration of blighted vacant homes resulting from a fire in 2017, during which city fire hydrants had been turned off, increases illegal dumping and diminishes overall safety.
- Accessibility of the West Bay Ave Location: The steep hill between the majority of residents and the proposed facility on West Bay Ave poses a major deterrent to its utilization as a new recreation center. Currently, no viable proposal has surfaced to address this accessibility challenge. It is imperative that the committee identifies concrete options and secures long-term funding commitments to overcome this obstacle.
- Capital and Operating Expenses for the Existing Building on 1630 Filbert St: Managing the existing building on 1630 Filbert St poses a primary financial hurdle for the community to achieve long-term success. It is crucial for the committee to address this challenge by engaging city, state, federal, and non-profit partners. The committee must assess the efforts of existing partners and determine the level of funding commitment they can marshal to the project. Additionally, the committee must prioritize transparency as a regular practice exhibited by the community association. Therefore, comprehensive budget numbers for both locations, along with operating and maintenance costs for the current building, must be presented to ensure informed decision-making.
The committee will convene regular meetings throughout the planning and implementation phases of the development to define strategies, secure funding commitments, engage stakeholders, and implement a comprehensive set of measures for the sustainable development of both the existing building and the proposed recreation center. Your participation in these meetings, as well as your active involvement in related initiatives, will be vital to the success of this endeavor.