Vote to dissolve Rec Board silences community voices

This past October, Phoenixville Borough Council voted 7-1 to repeal a borough ordinance that established the formation of the Recreation Board; none of the members voting in favor of the motion had ever attended a Recreation Board meeting or knew what the board does. This vote begins the process of dissolution of the Recreation Board.

The Recreation Board was created in 1962 to organize and oversee sports leagues for the Phoenixville Borough and surrounding areas. Currently, the board assists the Borough Recreation Department head and her staff as they continue to oversee these leagues, organize wellness seminars, summer camps, the Halloween parade and maintain local parks. The Recreation Board is composed of Recreation Department employees and volunteers, each of whom has a right to vote on issues the board handles. The Phoenixville Borough Parks and Recreation Committee, conversely, is composed of borough council members and three public members who are also volunteers and who must be approved by borough council. Public members of the Parks and Rec Committee, however, have no vote and thus no voice. One of the only jobs of the Parks and Rec Committee is to approve temporary event applications for upcoming events in the borough and pass them on to borough council for final approval.

Fifty-two years later, borough council decided that the Recreation Board, a group of volunteers, should be disbanded on the unfounded belief that their work is “duplicative” of the Parks and Rec Committee. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is supported by the fact that the only borough council member who voted against the motion to repeal the ordinance establishing the Recreation Board is a member of the board. No other members of the current borough council attended a Recreation Board meeting until after this vote was held.

Essentially, the borough council majority wishes to dissolve a collection of volunteers, some of whom have been on the board for over a decade, and take away their ability to have a voice in the community. Contrary to the thoughts of the majority of borough council, the Recreation Board is not a hindrance to work of the Parks and Rec Committee, nor is the board’s work duplicative. Moreover, the work of the Recreation Board is done at no cost to the borough.

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We urge borough residents to contact their council members and urge those elected representatives to defeat this pending change in borough ordinance and allow the Recreation Board to continue to serve the residents of the Phoenixville area.

Yours in Service,

The Members of the Phoenixville Borough Recreation Board

Kevin R Pound, Chairman

Public members:

Janet Hunter

Shane Dilworth

Dave Gill

Ed Lantzy

Bill Thornton

Pat Nattle