OCEANSIDE — Thanks to city council’s decision earlier this year to dedicate funds to the Youth Opportunity Program, recreation centers will be open additional hours for teen programs.
Evening hours will be extended at the Junior Seau Beach Recreation Center and Melba Bishop Recreation Center for teens. The Youth Opportunity Program will provide teens from fifth grade through high school age a safe place to gather and recreate with friends.
The decision to designate additional funds to teen programs was made following the fatal shooting at Libby Lake Park in March 2013. The gang shooting at the park killed two teens and injured two other teens. None of the teens were affiliated with a gang.
The amount of $20,000 from the city’s general fund will pay for two staff members to lead teen programs.
Park and recreation staff hours were sharply cut back a few years ago when the city budget was trimmed.
“It provides a safe place for teens to go several days a week,” Eileen Turk, parks and recreation division manager, said.
Funds will provide supervised recreation and homework help for teens at the Junior Seau Beach Recreation Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., and Melba Bishop Recreation Center on Sundays and Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m.
Extended hours will begin by June. Youth Opportunity Program funds do not support additional hours and operations of other uses of the recreational facilities.
Another promising prospect this summer is the Marshall Street Pool may be open for community use during the months of June, July and August, pending council’s approval of funds.
“We’re hoping for approval of Marshall Street Pool; that’s a biggie,” Turk said.
City Council will decide on approving approximated $60,000 to open the pool for summer May 7.