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Columbus Expanding 'Rec Centers Without Walls' To East Side

Columbus Council member Elizabeth Brown, right, is the chair of the recreation and parks committee.
Adora Namigadde
/
WOSU
Columbus Council member Elizabeth Brown, right, is the chair of the recreation and parks committee.

Columbus officials announced on Wednesday it will expand the “recreation centers without walls” program this spring and summer.

The city launched the effort last year to fill gaps in neighborhoods where there is no brick-and-mortar recreation center. Now, it's looking to open a location at Liberty Elementary School on Columbus' East Side.

Columbus community relations chief Sophia Fifner says the effort brings programming that would be typically found at recreation centers to existing buildings like schools.

“Programming can include anything from martial arts to soccer classes to outdoor recreation classes to craft-making like painting and weaving,” Fifner says.

The expansion will cost about $165,000, with the bulk of the funding going to hiring.

The first center without walls opened in Wedgewood last year. City officials hope to continue expanding the program.

“Oftentimes, there's an active and robust greenspace,” Fifner says of potential programming sites. “Liberty Elementary has that. We also look for communities where there's distance for residents to get there.”

The centers have programming for residents of all ages.