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Lack of money may shut down Youngstown park and rec programs

Published: Thu, February 11, 2010 @ 5:21 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — While a final decision hasn’t been made, city officials are considering the elimination of all of its park and recreation programs.

“It looks that way,” said Jason Whitehead, director of the park and recreation commission and the mayor’s chief of staff. “Because of the budget deficit we won’t be able to fund programs.”

The city hasn’t finalized its 2010 budget, but officials are looking to reduce a projected $3.5 million deficit in the general fund.

If the city cut its park and recreation programs, all of which lose money, it would save about $1 million, Whitehead said.

The city wants to find companies to manage the Henry Stambaugh Golf Course, the North Side Pool and four baseball fields.

“If we don’t outsource those we won’t open” any of them, Whitehead said.

But Mayor Jay Williams said no final decision has been made on any park and recreation programs, except the cancelation of the 21 and Over Basketball League, which was to start playing last Sunday. He added discussions about cuts are very preliminary.

“We are looking at a number of different scenarios,” Williams said. “There are so many variables. No definitive decisions have been made.”

For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com

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