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Last month, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham held a special ceremony heralding the reopening of the Banneker Recreation Center. Prior to the ceremony, neighbors complained that the Georgia Avenue center, which had been closed over a year for repairs, was contributing to an uptick in juvenile delinquency in the neighborhood. They complained that the kids who might normally find themselves at the rec center were finding themselves in trouble instead.
After only a few weeks of operation, the rec center’s doors are closed again.
Two weeks ago, Darren Jones, president of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association, says he noticed a sign on the front door of the rec center indicating that it was closed again until further notice. Before, the Department of Parks and Recreation blamed their failure to get the building open on an unfinished wheelchair ramp. This time, it’s the air-conditioning system.
“The air conditioner has been out, that’s my understanding,” says department spokesperson Regina Williams. The agency, she says, is waiting for a special part to come in for the HVAC unit. Williams says she doesn’t know for sure when the center will be open again.
Jones says that after such a lengthy prior closure, having the recreation center closed again is unacceptable.
“It’s offensive that…a year and a half after they started [doing] almost $4.8 million in renovation, they’re still having problems with the AC system,” Jones says. “It’s outrageous.”