Glenwood and East Chattanooga residents enjoyed a political victory this week after inundating city staff with requests to back off of their behind-the-scenes plan to sell the Glenwood Recreation Center and move its operations to Orange Grove Center.
"To be clear: the Glenwood YFD Center is not being sold to anyone and it is not closing," Lurone "Coach" Jennings, administrator of Chattanooga's department of youth and family development, wrote Glenwood Neighborhood Association members.
On Saturday, city staff hosted an informational meeting to highlight the pluses of moving the center's operations to the Orange Grove Center, but the presentation and tour were abandoned after it became clear that the community was unified in its opposition to the idea. The meeting was only scheduled because a Glenwood resident learned that the city was planning to sell the center without giving the community notice at a meeting of the East Chattanooga neighborhood leaders and decided to send a mass email out notifying as many as she could of what she had learned.
"It was clear from the large number of attendees and the feedback we heard that this center has held a special place in the hearts of many, many families in this community for generations. We certainly appreciate that and we take your comments extremely seriously," Jennings wrote. "It is clear at this point that we have not achieved consensus within the community about moving the center's operations to another facility at this time.
"We will continue to listen to you."
During Saturday's meeting, Maura Sullivan, the city's chief operating officer, said there was no done deal, but that city staff did begin exploring the idea — including speaking with Notre Dame High School's administrator and the Orange Grove Center board — after Orange Grove, which has a recycling contract with the city, approached city staff and said it had unused space that could be leased and wondered if the city knew of anyone that might need such space.
"We are not about to do something," she told the crowd. The city is assessing all of its facilities to determine the shape they are in for budgeting purposes, she said.
Contact staff writer Joan Garrett McClane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6601.