2006-09-21 / Letters to the Editor

Rec center is for all kids

Could someone please explain why we are considering renting a second floor apartment at a cost of $1,500 per month plus utilities for a Teen Center? Why can't we use the rec center? This is a building that is suppose to be for the kids. We wouldn't have to pay rent, and we are already paying for utilities. I have lived in Jamestown permanently for 48 years. I have raised four children here and the rec center was always a big part of their lives. There was always something they could do there. They could always get a pickup game of basketball with some of their pals. There was boxing and weightlifting programs, to name a few. It was always a place to meet friends, hang out and talk.

Many years ago there was talk about selling the property because it was prime property. There was an outcry because if it was sold where would the kids go? It was important to keep and maintain as it kept the kids from hanging out on the street. Through the years, taxpayers have funded a new roof, new furnace, new windows, and many more improvements. Then we had a volunteer program to pay for the beautiful landscaping. Now we have a beautiful building but it seems the more beautiful the building has got, the less the kids are welcome. There hasn't been a nighttime program in many years. Last year, my grandson moved to Jamestown from North Kingstown where he was active in two basketball teams. I suggested he look for a basketball game here and was surprised that there were no teams for teens.

A few years ago the JCT wanted to enlarge the area at the side of the stage. Wouldn't that be a great place for the teens to meet? I would like to know exactly how much time the kids, especially teens, are allowed to spend in the rec. Remember this building is being heated all the time, it has water and electricity that we are already paying for. Why not let the kids get more use of this building? I know some will say that we would have to pay for more of the rec employees' time, but why not use the $1,500 for that?

The name of the building is the recreation building. It is not the Jamestown Theater or the Special Events Building. Don't get me wrong, I think the JCT is wonderful and has done a great job of involving the kids, but it shouldn't be at the exclusion of other kids' programs at the rec. Maybe it is time to think about making the recreation department a separate department like it used to be.

My point is, let's use the facilities we have and not look for new ones.

Jean Britton,

Jamestown

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