Are Greensboro facilities operated for the benefit of the residents of Greensboro or for the benefit of the employees of the City of Greensboro?
Greensboro Police Chief Brian James has talked to the City Council about the disturbing fact that those involved in shootings in Greensboro keep getting younger and younger. James instituted a program to create 500 jobs for youths last summer for all the benefits that having a job provides and also to keep kids from hanging out on the streets where they have a much greater opportunity to get into trouble.
The idea that if you give young people something constructive to do that they are less likely to get in trouble is not a novel idea.
So why are just about all Greensboro recreation facilities closed, not just on major holidays, but closed the days surrounding those holidays when most kids are out of school?
In Greensboro, all the neighborhood recreation centers where kids could go during the holidays for some kind of supervised recreation are closed. During the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, all Greensboro recreation centers are closed from Thursday, Dec. 23 through Monday, Dec. 27, and Friday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 2.
By comparison, Gillespie Golf Course, which mainly caters to adults, closes at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, is closed Saturday, Dec. 25, but reopens for normal operating hours on Sunday, Dec. 26. So, the city considers it important enough that people have somewhere to play golf for city employees to work, but not important enough for young people to have somewhere to go to keep the recreation centers and facilities open.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for the city recreation facilities that mainly serve the young people of the city to have a similar holiday operating schedule as the golf course?
And it’s not just the case that the city recreation facilities take a long break at Christmas. The schedule for other holidays when schools are closed is similar.
For Thanksgiving, the city recreation centers and most facilities were closed, not just on Thanksgiving Day but also Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The regular hours for Greensboro recreation centers is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., which means they are closed all day on Sunday. Most children are in school Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so much of the time the recreation centers are open, kids are in school. Kids are not in school on Sundays but the recreation centers are closed. So, are the regular hours of the recreation centers set up for the employees or for the clientele?
And it’s not just recreation facilities. All the public libraries and the History Museum are also closed Dec. 23 to Dec. 27 and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Students who don’t have internet access at home or a home conducive to study might find the holidays a good time to work on a paper or get caught up, but they can’t do it at the public library.
At least libraries, unlike recreation centers, are open on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Since Greensboro has recognized it has a problem with young people hanging out on the streets and getting in trouble, perhaps the City of Greensboro should consider what other options it’s offering.