Proposed Recreation Cuts Draw Protests

Residents lobbied city council Thursday night to prevent proposed funding cuts as the city deals with an $80 million budget shortfall.

Council members listened to those who packed council chambers worried about elimination of programs operated by the city's Parks and Recreation Department, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.

Mayor Michael Coleman has suggested that council close 12 recreation centers, saving the city about $4 million.

One group of speakers argued for the city to keep the Davis Performing Arts Youth Program open.

"There is only one, I repeat, one publicly funded arts program and facility dedicated to the performing arts for youth in the city," one woman told council members. "When it goes, there's no other place to go."

Cathie Pruden is worried about the future of the Golden Hobby Shop in German Village.

The shop sells arts and crafts created by senior citizens in recreation programs. The shop and programs cost taxpayers $100,000 a year.

"We may not be able to be self-sufficient totally," Pruden said, adding that the shop has a rainy-day fund that can be tapped to assist in funding the programs.

"We'd like to work out some kind of plan for survival," Pruden said.

Before the hearing began, some residents upset at the proposed cuts politely protested outside City Hall.

The Parks and Recreation Department has already seen its budget slashed 42 percent in the last eight years and operates with 143 fewer people than it did in 2000.

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