RELEASE: Mayor Rawlings-Blake Opens Rita R. Church Community Center in Clifton Park

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake


Baltimore City

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Malkia "Kia" McLeod
Director, Marketing and Media Relations
Office: 410-396-6694
Mobile: 443-651-0365

LOGO:Department of Recreation and Parks, Ernest Burkeen, Director

Mayor Rawlings-Blake Opens Rita R. Church Community Center in Clifton Park

The center is the first in a network of new community centers.


BALTIMORE, Md. (July 15, 2013)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was joined by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks (BCRP), City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation, and the Darley Park Community Association to officially open the Councilwoman Rita R. Church Community Center at Clifton Park. The new center is the first of four community centers that BCRP will renovate or expand at a total cost of over $19 million.

“Our goal is to transition the city’s aging recreation centers into a new network of high-quality community centers in order to better serve Baltimore’s communities,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “The Councilwoman Rita R. Church Community Center is an example of Baltimore’s new recreation center model—and a direct result of the city’s investment in expanded staff and programming, such as camps and after-school programs.”

“I cannot think of a better time to celebrate the opening of Baltimore’s newest community center than in July, which is National Park and Recreation Month,” said BCRP Director Ernest Burkeen. “Park and Recreation Month encourages everyone to reflect on the reasons why we value our treasured public spaces like the Councilwoman Rita R. Church Community Center.”

The Councilwoman Rita R. Church Community Center at Clifton Park, located at 2101 Saint Lo Drive, incorporates both renovation and new construction. The center encloses and converts an existing historic pavilion above the recently renovated 1920s pool bathhouse. The project calls for two phases:

  • The first phase includes locker rooms, an elevator, and mechanical rooms on the lower level. The second level of the building houses a lounge space, computer lab, kitchen and craft room, multi-purpose room, game room, and office space. The total cost of phase one is $3.1 million (30 percent state funding, 70 percent city bond).
  • The second phase will add 11,500 square feet and include a gymnasium, restrooms, and concession space. Phase II is estimated to cost $3 million.

In addition to an FY14 increase for BCRP’s Recreation Bureau operating budget, Mayor Rawlings-Blake also allocated $5 million in capital funds for the community center master plan and implementation—a major down payment on the plan to build as many 10 new recreation centers within the decade as part of the city’s Ten-Year Financial Plan. The next newly renovated community center, Morrell Park, is estimated to be completed in September 2013; followed by Patterson Park in December 2015.

The late Rita R. Church, whose family was in attendance at today’s event, represented the Baltimore City Council’s 3rd district until her retirement in 1999. She served as a member of the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Board and was often called the “Mayor of Coldstream-Homestead Montebello.” She also served on the Maryland Democratic Central Committee.

For more information on the new Councilwoman Rita R. Church Community Center at Clifton Park, call 410-396-6694 or visit bcrp.baltimorecity.govFollow the Department of Recreation and Parks on Facebook (baltimore.recnparks) and Twitter (@RecNParks).

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