8 people smile and stand next to a building with red brick about to cut a ribbon
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and others at the opening of the Southwest Regional Recreation Center. Photo from Baltimore County Dept. of Rec and Parks FB page.

Baltimore County officials on Tuesday debuted Halethorpe’s newly renovated Southwest Regional Recreation Center.

Formerly “Leadership Through Athletics,” the 24,000 square-foot indoor recreational facility was acquired by Baltimore County in late 2022. The Olszewski administration had pledged to prioritize expanding recreational opportunities across Baltimore County.

“The Southwest Regional Recreation Center has a rich legacy in Baltimore County and will continue to be an invaluable asset to the Halethorpe area and beyond, offering families much-needed recreational activities and programs year-round,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “I am grateful to the Recreation and Parks team for its diligent work in getting this building ready for our residents, and to our state and local partners for their continued investment in our people and communities.”

The space was purchased in “turn-key” condition, according to the press release, needing only minimal updates like new carpet and paint to align with the county’s standards. The recreation center was acquired with $3.17 million from Maryland’s Program Open Space.

The center has a double gymnasium, a second-floor half gymnasium, a multipurpose room and basement activity space, all of which provides a versatile platform for recreational and community activities.

”It is crucial for residents across all our communities to have access to recreational opportunities that promote physical and mental well-being, foster good health and encourage social engagement with their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Councilman Pat Young. “I am delighted to witness the transformation of the former Leadership Through Athletics facility into a County rec center, ensuring that this longstanding institution in southwestern Baltimore County will remain a hub for residents to maintain their fitness and enjoy active lifestyles. My gratitude goes to the Grace Family for their unwavering commitment to providing these opportunities for our communities, and I extend my thanks to County Executive Olszewski for his efforts in preserving this community treasure as a regional recreation center.”

“Rarely does an opportunity arise to incorporate such a remarkable facility into the County’s inventory,” said Director Bob Smith. “We are excited to begin operations at this exceptional location and look forward to offering quality programs to the surrounding communities. We are thankful to the County Executive for his continued investment into improving our inventory of facilities. Lastly, we express profound appreciation to the Grace Family for their years of dedication to serving the recreation needs of the residents of southwest Baltimore County and we aspire to continue the work they have initiated.”

This is the Olszewski administration’s 11th recreation and parks acquisition since the beginning of 2021. Baltimore County’s Department of Recreation and Parks will manage the facility as a public recreation center, “continuing the rich legacy of community-oriented programming that the facility’s founders, the Grace family, established during their 18-year tenure as the center’s owners,” read the press release.

Other public parks and recreation sites that have been improved and expanded with assistance from Program Open Space include Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center, Cromwell Valley Park, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, seven regional parks and athletic facilities and nearly 100 neighborhood and community parks.

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