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Playground. The Committee appointed to review the photographs sent in will make their announcement through The Playground.
If this national contest is successful it is hoped that similar contests may be held at frequent intervals.
A Church Community House A very interesting project under way at Forest Hills, Long Island, is described by Mr. Clarence Arthur Perry in The Community Center for July-September, 1920. If the experiment succeeds the church will have demonstrated that in Forest Hills, at least, it may take its place as a real community agency.
"Friends of the community organization movement are watching, with a great deal of interest and some concern, the 'community buildings' which are now being erected on church premises in many parts of the United States. The concern is due to a fear as to the effect which these enterprises, if they should fail to be 'community' in reality, would have upon the movement locally and at large. As human nature runs, is it practicable for one religious demonstration to constitute the auspices under which the members of a dozen other denominations and those of no religious faith at all come together for discussion, amusement and civic action? Can the Methodists, for example, run a community house in such a way that the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Catholics will not feel that the community house activities are creating new Methodists and in many ways enlarging the prestige and influence of a rival denomination? If a church community building fails, or drags along for years patronized by one clique and suspected by all the others, what will be the effect in that neighborhood upon a project to make the schoolhouse, or some other public building, a real community center? Will the community movement have received a 'black eye' locally or will it be spurred on to make a genuine effort? Can a church so communitize the management, policies, support and control of its community building that it will not arouse denominational antagonisms and will in effect help its neighborhood towards a democratic solution of its problems and provide it with new outlets for its secular interests and energy?
“It is in respect to these questions that the community project of the Church-in-the-Gardens at Forest Hills, Long Island, is significant. This 'suburb' is geographically almost in the center of Greater New York, but in reality it is a little village located on the Long Island Railroad about fifteen minutes from Broadway. Its population supports five churches. One of them, the Church-in-the-Gardens, has a Congregational form of government but is otherwise very broad in its creed. The Forest Hils Community Council has for several years met in its church parlors and most of the other community meetings have been held there. Forest Hills has no large auditorium, gymnasium, club rooms or theatre, and it was the general need of such facilities which led to the project for the community house. A philanthropic member of the Church-inthe-Gardens gave a site for a community house on the condition that the church raise an equal amount of money toward the building. That condition has been met and additional funds pledged, making a total of $70,000.00. Plans have been drawn for a structure which will cost when all completed upwards of $250,000.00. They include the following facilities:
$ A modern little theatre; a gymnasium and swimming pool; bowling alleys; and a number of club and social rooms. It is planned to build the theatre first and the other units as funds become available. The plan for governing the community house has been worked out very carefully with a view to securing the widest community control and at the same time safeguarding the church trustees in their responsibilities as the legal custodians of the property.”
The plan of government for the new community house involves a Board of Governors consisting of 19 members, six of whom shall be appointed by the trustees to represent the Church-in-the-Gardens. The second group of ten members shall represent the ten leading non-political organizations in the
community. The third group shall consist of representative men
women of the community and shall be selected by the members comprising the first and second groups. They shall represent the community as a whole and shall be appointed without regard to affiliation with churches or other organizations. This Board will assume the responsibility for the
and management of
the community house; the selection of the community house personnel to carry on activities other than religious; the duty of meeting the cost of maintenance and repairs; the responsibility for the character of entertainments conducted and for fixing the terms and conditions upon which the house shall be used by individuals or organizations.
In view of the ultimate responsibility of the church for any indebtedness which may be incurred in behalf of the community house, all acts of the Board shall be subject to the veto of the church. The Board shall not incur any indebtedness or obligation which may become a lien upon
the munity house or church property and shall not have the consent of the trustees to incur any financial obligations outside of a budget approved by the trustees. The Board shall have full power to act by a majority to establish its own by-laws and to determine its own manner of organization and action.
Through such a plan as this it is hoped to make the community house a democratically organized and managed community asset.
Recreational Developments in Detroit
Under the new Charter Amendment of Detroit, the Recreation Commission has been abolished and a Department of Recreation with a Commissioner of Recreation, created. Mr. C. E. Brewer, who was an Assistant Superintendent of the Commission and who was later associated with War Camp Community Service and Community Service, has been appointed as Commissioner.
Proceedings have been started, Mr. Brewer writes, for the condemnation of playgrounds and playfields as provided for by the $10,000,000 bond issue for Parks and Playgrounds passed in April, 1919.
The Common Council has ordered 20 playNew Playgrounds grounds and four playfields condemned. To
date, six playgrounds and two playfields have been condemned and the title of the property vested in the City of Detroit. The condemnation of the others is proceeding as rapidly as possible.
Through cooperation with the Board of EducaLonger Hours tion, a number of school buildings will be
opened from 3 o'clock in the afternoon until 11 o'clock at night. Previously, they have been opened from 3 to 5 in the afternoon and from 7 to 9 at night. Three school buildings at the present time are open under these conditions. By cooperation with other municipal departments and local social service organizations, it is planned to establish service units in several sections of the city. Under this plan workers from the Department of Public Welfare, the Board of Health, the Department of Recreation, the Community Union, (the organization including all local social work organizations sharing in the Community Chest,) will have their headquarters in one building, preferably a school building. In this way the city will have a service unit which will function to the best ends of the people in that particular neighborhood.
The Department of Recreation has secured the money necessary to keep the buildings open under these conditions, and have three operating at the present time. The other agencies have not started their work as yet, but it is hoped that they will do so soon. The Department of Recreation is making surveys in other districts in order to determine the needs. When the needs are determined, a worker of the Department of Recreation will be sent in that district to organize activities and open a community center in the school building. Under this director, special workers will work for activities along educational, vocational, social and civic lines. Either a Fire House The Department of Recreation has three buildor a University
ings of its own which are at the present time May Make a Good Playground being used as community centers in addition to the school buildings;—the Northwestern Field House, located upon the city's beautiful 30 acre athletic field; the St. Clair Center, which was formerly the City Hall and Fire Engine Hall of the village of St. Clair before it was annexed to the City of Detroit, two years ago; the Elmwood Center, located upon the grounds of the former Detroit University School, which suffered a fire several years ago, and did not resume operation. The City purchased the property, remodeled the building, and the Department is making it an ideal community center with an athletic field, skating rink, playground, swimming pool, and other facilities in which a large number of organizations including the American Legion, the Stranger's Club and other community clubs, hold their meetings. The offices of the Department of Recreation are also located in this building.
The Department of Recreation has supervision over the playground and athletic fields upon the beautiful Belle Isle, in the Detroit River. The Department of Parks and Boulevards is building a quarter of a mile cinder track, an exact replica of the University of Pennsylvania Track. This track will be turned over to the Department of Recreation when completed. This is the third cinder track which the Department of Recreation has, the others being located at Riverside Park and at the Elmwood Center.
A Year of Progress
The report of recreation activities for the year 1920 recently received from Paterson, New Jersey, is worthy of honorable mention in the work of progressive cities. The Recreation Commission of this city received an appropriation of $18,000 for their work during 1920. In that year the number of children's playgrounds was increased from ten to twelve; baseball fields from one to five; playground baseball fields from one to twelve; three football fields were established and four new evening centers made available, increasing the number of centers to a total of seven. The twelve playgrounds operated had an attendance of 410,000 children under the age of fourteen during the six months they were open.
A Public Schools Athletic League was organized and 1250 contestants were brought together for group contest at the annual athletic meet. Demonstration meetings were held for school teachers and practice classes for playground directors. An industrial athletic association was organized with thirty large firms as charter members. The first general athletic meet with 600 entries was a huge success.
Streets near twelve schools were closed during certain hours for play activities. Volley ball and dodge ball were taught in all the schools. An athletic and dancing carnival and a baseball carnival were held during the year. Through cooperation with the Paterson Chess Club several clubs were formed throughout the city.