Rec center staff voices mixed feelings about soda tax

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) "What we think right now is they don't want to do nothing for us," said Keith Coleman about the condition of West Mill Creek Rec Center in West Philly. He's on the Advisory Council and says it's the same as when our cameras were there more than two months ago.

"Nothing has really changed except we know that we're going to have to pay more when we go to the corner store to buy a beverage," said Coleman.

He says the city's new tax on sugary drinks officially passed Thursday promises money for communities including city run neighborhood rec centers. But Coleman isn't so sure.

"We don't actually know what it is that the city wants to do for us."

Fox 29 visited in April and found an empty rundown building overflowing with problems. There's a storage room full of equipment like computers yet there are no programs here. Staff says bathroom plumbing barely works and the playground and basketball courts are in disrepair.

"My friends and I have paid for it out of our pocket. Every time the court got painted we paid for it. Every time a new rim was put up we paid for it. Every time a new backboard got put up we paid for it. Every time the courts get cleaned up we do it," said 26-year old Antwann Postell who grew up here and says he and his friends held a recent cleanup Sunday. He runs a neighborhood basketball league and does maintenance work he says city officials have ignored. He does it all for the kids.

"Help guide them in another way and if the city is not going to do it or someone else isn't going to do it we do it ourselves," said Postell.

Carl Smith was at City Hall for the soda tax vote which he supported. He says although Parks and Rec could get the least of all the funding every dollar counts when it comes to the children.

"West Mill Creek should be better. I think our city is being overlooked. There were times were supposed to get funds and we never got it," said Smith.

The soda tax starts January first.