Council to pass bill mandating reduced rec center rates for vets, disabled
New York City Councilman Mark Levine said he and his colleagues are slated to pass legislation Friday to offer city recreation center discounts for military veterans, the disabled, seniors and young adults, despite the mayor initially appearing to favor an administrative route.
The legislation, sponsored by Parks Committee Chairman Levine and Veterans Committee Chairman Eric Ulrich, would mandate that Parks Department-run recreation centers offer at least 75 percent off annual membership rates, which are currently set at $150, to veterans, the disabled, those over 62 and people aged 18-24.
Levine said the centers, which feature everything from basketball courts and pools to yoga rooms, are an inexpensive place for people to exercise.
“For veterans who are disabled that’s clearly extremely important,” Levine said. “And they offer the social benefits of interacting with people in the rec center setting, so there’s a lot of good that can come out of this, and we don’t want the people who most stand to benefit from these kind of facilities being blocked because of the price.”
A spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the administration was proud to “support the goals of the Council’s legislation.” Currently, park rules offer discounts for seniors and young adults at city parks and recreation centers. The administration said it will continue to work toward instituting reduced recreation center rates for veterans and disabled New Yorkers through an administrative process that began last November.
“We plan to express our gratitude and support for the men and women who have honorably served our country and for people with disabilities through discounts for these communities at our rec centers—as we currently do for seniors and young adults,” de Blasio spokeswoman Monica Klein said in a statement.