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Commissioners review report on libraries, recreation centers

The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners received a report Wednesday by Hyong Yi, the county’s budget director, on the neighborhoods that may have closed schools as well as recreation centers and libraries that are shuttered or have reduced hours.

According to Yi’s presentation, more than half of the facilities that may be closed are in neighborhoods designated as “transitioning” or “challenged” by the city. Of the 23 libraries threatened for closure or reduced hours, four are in “transitioning” neighborhoods and four are in “challenged” neighborhoods. Of the nine schools that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board plans to close, four are in “transitioning” neighborhoods and three are in “challenged” neighborhoods. Of the 20 recreation centers that the county’s Park and Recreation Department plans to close or reduce hours for, four are in “transitioning” neighborhoods and nine are in “challenged” neighborhoods.

The information is slightly flawed, Yi said, because the neighborhood designations only apply to neighborhoods within the city’s boundaries. The outlying facilities — seven libraries and one school — are in neighborhoods that have not been studied or given designations.

Commissioner Dan Murrey said he wanted to see the report to identify neighborhoods that could be losing more than one facility, which would have “a much more devastating impact than only losing one of the three.”

“We’re the big picture organization,” Murrey said. “We’re supposed to be responsible for the total package. ”

Murrey suggested that the board hold public hearings within the neighborhoods that are at risk of losing multiple facilities so that they have a better idea of what the impact may be.

Caitlin Coakley can be reached at caitlin.coakley@mecktimes.com.

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