A little while ago, I mentioned the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Department Recreation and Aquatics Facility Analysis and Plan July 2015, which is a 100-page document that describes some interesting stuff for the future of dance in the city of Baltimore. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, please, dig in. Funding for this plan (more than $135 million) is controversial and political. But this plan is important, just keep in mind that this is a planning document, which means it’s not real until it’s real.
Why is this a big deal for dance in Baltimore? The Rita Church and Morrell Park Community Centers are the first new stand-alone community centers in Baltimore in a decade and follow a dramatic series of closings. The city wants you involved.
Why is this a big deal for In the Dancer’s Studio? Because these facilities will be designed and built over the next 10 to 15 years (give or take, subject to funding availability, etc.), and dance is already part of the equation. The dancers of Baltimore can get involved in the design and allocation of space. I keep asking… What does Baltimore need to make dance work?
Here’s the language used in the plan. Baltimore describes “Fitness and Wellness Centers” as:
…recreation facilities that are located in or near parks, other recreational facilities, and athletic fields. These larger (30,000+ s.f.), full-service centers will provide multiple programs and activities for all ages, extended hours of operation in the mornings and afternoons, and 6 – 7 day operations. The centers will include spaces such as fitness areas, dance and multi-purpose rooms, a gymnasium, and menâ€™s and womenâ€™s locker rooms. Several of the new facilities will include indoor pools. The wide variety of programming will be designed for individuals, teens, youth, adults, active older adults, and families and will attract residents citywide.
and “Community Centers” as:
…recreation facilities that located in or near parks, other aquatics facilities, and athletic fields. These smaller centers (less than 30,000 s.f.) will provide a range of programs and activities for all ages with extended hours of operation. The facilities will vary in size and programming depending upon location. Expanded spaces may include a fitness room, dance spaces, multi-purpose rooms, lobby and circulation areas, and menâ€™s/womenâ€™s changing rooms/bathrooms. Programming will likely serve more local residents.
These two classes of facilities both specifically include dance. Since we’re about the business of dance here, I’m going to ignore the “Seasonal Athletic Centers,” “Outdoor Aquatic Centers” and “School-Based Recreation Spaces” (even though this will necessarily ignore the nice people at Fluid Movement).
The planned Fitness and Wellness Centers are:
- Cahill, $12 million, in design, 32,000 square feet, includes a performing arts space.
- Carroll Park, $12 million, funding to be identified, includes a dance space
- CC Jackson, $4.22 million, under construction
- Cherry Hill, $11.5 million, under construction, includes a dance space, estimated completion Spring 2017
- Chick Webb, $12 million, funding to be identified
- Clifton Park (Rita R Church), $3.5 million, phase 1 completed 2013. $4.54 million, phase 2 under construction
- Druid Hill, $8 million, funding to be identified
- Farring-Baybrook, $12 million, funding to be identified
- Herring Run, $15 million, funding to be identified, includes a dance space
- Lillian Jones, $12.5 million, funding to be identified
- North Harford, $12 million, funding to be identified, two phases
The planned Community Centers are:
- Edgewood-Lyndhurst, $1 million, funding to be identified
- Locust Point, $2.5 million, funding to be identified
- Morrell Park, $4.5 million, completed 2014, 18,000 square feet.
- Patterson Park (Virginia S. Baker), $6.3 million, funding to be identified
If there’s a link to a facility in the list above, it goes directly to the city’s “Destination Active Baltimore” website, where you can engage directly and share your thoughts on what happens. Previously, I mentioned that the Cahill facility was particularly interesting for the Baltimore dance community. This is why:
The existing center located in Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park will be expanded or newly built. Presently in the early stages of design, the form of the new facility is yet to be determined. The center will be 32,000 square feet and will include performing arts facilities, an indoor pool, fitness area and provide a new focus on outdoor recreation and environmental programming. Project completion is anticipated for Fall 2017. Cost: $12 million
Cahill brings 32,000 square feet of facility, some of which is already designated for performing arts. Is your particular kind of dance a performing art? Got any special requirements to make a performing arts space work for you? Cahill is also adjacent to Gwynns Falls Park, which suggests a question… Is an outdoor stage interesting?
Cherry Hill’s plan includes a dance studio, scheduled to open in Spring 2017. Anyone out there need a dance studio space in south Baltimore?
Locust Point has two “multipurpose” rooms in its plan – anyone want to make the case to put a sprung floor in one of them?