Mayor Francis Slay has proposed a one-eighth-cent increase in sales taxes. It would produce $4.4 million a year. The money would be used to build two new recreation centers, one in Carondelet Park in south city and another in north St. Louis, probably in O’Fallon Park.
The centers would be similar to the new community centers in Clayton and Richmond Heights, with gyms, running tracks, exercise equipment, meeting rooms and pools indoors and out. Unlike the current city rec centers, the new centers would charge those who can afford it. Estimates made in 2004 put that charge at about $45 a month for an adult and $58 a month for a family. For individuals and corporate citizens looking for a place to do some good, sponsoring memberships or helping underwrite the cost of the centers is a perfect opportunity.
The city’s older recreation centers will remain free and get long-overdue renovations if the referendum passes. In neighborhoods without rec centers, the city proposes to reopen programs in school gyms and churches. There will be pre-school programs, open gym nights and expanded recreation league sports.