THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | Memphis, TN | Business
In brief: Resolution to privatize city centers off the table
A resolution proposing outsourcing operations of city community centers has been withdrawn.
City Councilman Jim Strickland said Tuesday that a lack of support from his constituents and Mayor A C Wharton’s administration led him to pull the resolution.
“I did not have the support of the mayor and it did not appear I had the support from the council,” said Strickland. “And after a town hall meeting it was clear the users of the centers didn’t support it so I decided to withdraw it.”
Strickland said he thought allowing private entities — such as community groups, churches or other nonprofit organizations — to run the centers would have saved the city money while improving services offered by the community centers.
The city has 24 community centers, excluding four that a faith-based nonprofit organization began running last year.
Those four centers — Greenlaw, Simon/Boyd-Magnolia, Bethel Labelle and Hamilton — were nearly closed by former mayor Willie Herenton in 2008, but a public-private partnership with Memphis Athletic Ministries, a faith-based organization that uses sports to reach kids, kept the doors open.
MAM staffs the centers, provides all the recreational activities and pays the utility bills. The arrangement is expected to save the city around $600,000 a year.
— Amos Maki