Avondale rec center closure puts parents in a bind

CINCINNATI -- As soon as a sign announcing the Hirsch Recreation Center's two-year closure for renovations appeared on its front door, Avondale parents had an important decision to make. 

The Hirsch Recreation Center has been a safe place for children in what can otherwise be a tough neighborhood, mother of three Carliss Green said.

Without it, she and other parents in the neighborhood will have to make new plans for their children over winter break and after school starts again.

"I can remember them growing up and needing those extra couple of hours after getting out of school, someone keeping an eye on them," she said. "(Otherwise) they're just going to be out in the street, hanging around and not really having any place to go."

Daniel Betts, director of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, said he understands that concern and wants Avondale families to know they can still enjoy the same programs Hirsch provided -- just not all in one place.

"Any time we take a huge asset offline like this because we're renovating and making it better, we don't want to lose those patrons and citizens who use it," he said. "We don't want young people to lose that opportunity.

Families who had used Hirsch before will be able to use the pool at the Bush Recreation Center in Evanston and other programming at North Avondale and South Avondale Elementary.

The doors of the Hirsch Recreation Center will reopen in late 2019.

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