Club may run CV rec center

If the city is unable to open the new Ocean Air Recreation Center due to the budget shortfall, the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito said they are ready to step in.

Last week, Keith Padgett, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, told the Ocean Air Recreation Council if the city is unable to staff the center, they could provide programming for both children and adults.

“We’re very excited to step in,” Padgett said. “We’re willing to run it exclusively or help the city. If it opened tomorrow, I can almost guarantee we’d be ready with programming the day after tomorrow.”

City staff must now determine whether it is legal for the club to take over the recreation center under the Managed Competition Initiative. The initiative, approved by voters in 2006, allows private companies to compete with municipal employees for city services.

Padgett was enthusiastic about the prospect of taking over, adding that the facility at the end of East Ocean Air Drive is beautiful and nicer than anything the Boys & Girls Club has in San Diego.

Ocean Air Recreation Council Chair Kelly Goodwin said it was nice to have a “Plan B,” but that the council still hopes to open and run the facility. The 15-acre park and its 16,000-square-foot recreation center is slated for completion in July.

The Recreation Council expects to know if it will be able to fund staffing by mid-April, when the city budget is scheduled to be finalized, council member Rob Mullally said.

The city is currently considering cutting the parks and recreation budget by 10 percent in 2009 and 15 percent in 2010.

Steve Pond, manager of the parks and recreation department, said progress continues on schedule at Ocean Air.

“We’re proceeding as if it’s opening,” Pond said, adding that he has started purchasing office furniture and janitorial equipment for the center.