Problems addressed at Brush Creek Community Center, but staffing still short

Serious maintenance problems at Brush Creek Community Center are being rectified but staffing remains critically short, park officials said Tuesday.

The Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners received a briefing in response to community complaints earlier this month that the hours have been cut at the center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., and that maintenance and programs are inferior to those at other community centers.

Park Department Director Mark McHenry said the facility has gotten some new fitness equipment, new televisions and is being painted. Problems with heating, air conditioning and water fountains are being addressed and the gym floor will be refurbished.

Some of the people who had complained agreed conditions are better.

“I saw a drastic improvement,” said Tyler Crane.

McHenry acknowledged that more extensive improvements to the playground and restrooms could cost several hundred thousand dollars, and those funds have not been identified.

The community center still hasn’t filled two full-time recreation director positions, so it has had to shorten its hours on Thursday nights. The city hopes to fill those positions by the end of next month.

“We’re optimistic we’ll have that done in January,” McHenry said. “We’re pushing hard.”

Some community leaders said the park department isn’t doing enough to put volunteers to good use. Board Chair Jean-Paul Chaurand said the department appreciates the volunteers’ passion and will use it when it fits with the community center’s purpose and mission.

“We want to harness that,” Chaurand said.