BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a proposed budget statement to employees and City Councilors on Aug. 18, 2020, Mayor Randall Woodfin informed everyone that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s finances, more than 500 city employees will face pay cuts and furloughs.
It was understood that employees who will be furloughed are those working at city facilities that were closed, primarily culture and recreation. However, in a press release dated June 10, 2020, Birmingham Park and Recreation indicated the reopening of its doors after a city-mandated closing.
Mayor Woodfin’s suggested furlough process will impact some 87 Birmingham Park and Recreation employees, effectively closing down all 21 recreation centers, and significantly curtailing services offered at Legion Field Stadium, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, tennis facilities and more, the Birmingham Park Board says.
There is current confusion among some residents and city officials that the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board made the decision to close its own facilities, according to the Birmingham Park Board.
“Our facilities are open to the public,” president of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, Montal Morton, said. “We are acutely aware that it is very necessary in times like these that young people and families have places to go in their neighborhoods to engage in constructive activities and enjoy nature. I and the four other commissioners have the utmost faith in Director Shonae’ Bennett and the staff to provide our citizens with recreation programs that serve the public in a positive way.”
Morton believes that, now more than ever, the Birmingham Park and Recreation staff should e working and giving service to the public.
Birmingham Park and Recreation operates 21 recreation centers, 18 swimming pools, Legion Field Stadium, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Highland Park Racquet Club and more than 100 parks and green spaces.