West Philly recreation center in desperate need of repairs

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A West Philadelphia rec center is in desperate need of repairs. Now the community is trying to get it fixed.

"We got computers that we can't set up because it was raining in the building. See all the cracks in the wall coming all down the wall," said Keith Coleman.

He’s frustrated over the condition of the West Mill Creek Recreation Center at 51st and Parrish Street in West Philly. He takes us inside of what he calls an empty, rundown building plagued with problems.

"In the bathroom we got cracks in the walls. We got a refrigerator that we can't put refreshments in it because the refrigerator don't work," he said. Coleman is the President of the West Mill Creek Advisory Council. He says neighborhood kids deserve better.

"They flush the toilet in the girls bathroom and it comes out outside on the grass," he said.

He also showed us a room that looks more like a storage closet with computers, kilns for ceramics, floor mats and a piano inside. But Coleman says there’s not staff or programs for the kids.

"If you look around this place there's no activity," he said.

Outside there’s a dilapidated playground and athletic fields.

"You see we have no swings for the bigger kids to play on. They got the poles and everything and the makeup but no swings. They just put this sprinkler system in 2 years ago and the sprinkler system don't even work."

Kathryn Ott Lovell is a Commissioner for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

"We just have had a band aid approach to fixing things. We fix them as best we can,” she said.

She says in her two months in office she’s visited many rec centers that have similar problems and says it comes down to money.

"We have a great skilled trades team and operations team that do their best to fix the facilities but we haven't made the capital investment that we've needed to make," said Lovell.

Commissioner Lovell says Mayor Kenney’s “Rebuild Initiative” could help center’s like this. She says his 2017 budget would invest up to 500 million dollars to Parks and Recreation and libraries around the city.
That budget with its controversial soda tax still has to get through City Council.

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