FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On October 10th tensions boiled over as City Council questioned Fort Wayne Parks Director Steve McDaniel about the Jennings Center.
“I told you face-to-face [and] man-to-man: I’m pissed,” Councilman Hines said to Steve McDaniel, director of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation at the City Council Meeting.
The Center provides recreation and learning opportunities for youth, but when students went back to school it struggled to have enough staff.
The center had to shut its doors from August until Monday when the Parks and Recreation Department reopened the Jennings Center.
“We all agree that it’s best for the kids, it’s best for the community,” McDaniel said.
The department says that they have not been able to hire more staff to man the center, but that internally they have been creative and stretched their existing staff to cover more roles.
“Right now it’s pulling people from different departments,” McDaniel said. “It’s probably going to be tight with staffing.”
As for some of the council members who were frustrated with the closure of the Jennings Center, they tell WANE 15 that they’re happy with today’s reopening.
“Providing a safe space and security for children is very important to me and the community,” said Councilwoman Sharon Tucker. “I am glad the Parks Department was able to rethink how to define addressing the challenge.”
“I’m well pleased the center is re-opening, and I look forward to the Jennings Center and other sites having full-time employees,” said Councilwoman Michelle Chambers.
The reopening does continue to mean that the department needs to hire more employees to operate at any normal level.
“I keep pushing that, we’re looking for staff,” McDaniel said.
You can apply for Parks and Recreation jobs on the department’s website.