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Council members look to expand community center services

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Buffalo has a strong network of community centers for young people, now open Monday through Friday. Common Council members are asking about opening on weekends.

Council members voted unanimously yesterday to ask the Public Works Department how much it would cost to have weekend hours in community centers.

Councilmember Chris Scanlon sponsored the resolution after finding out ice rinks were open but the community centers weren't. He says there is no indication how many kids would benefit until Public Works reports back.

Pastor James Giles is president and CEO of Back to Basics Outreach Ministry and vice president of Voice Buffalo and an activist against street violence. Giles says weekend operations would be a good idea.

"It would be an excellent thing for them to do that. It would be an huge investment. It would eliminate this idea or notion that or youth don't have anything to do and when they don't, they create their own mischief," Giles said.

"I'm telling you crime would go down. More recreation and guided and supervised recreation is a chance to produce better relationships between different organizations, different agencies or different groups."

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt says he's backing the idea because he visits a lot of community centers where there a lot of kids on weekdays but wonders where the same young people are on weekends.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.