Manatee County commissioner 'disappointed' in operation of Rubonia Community Center

skennedy@bradenton.comOctober 5, 2012 

MANATEE -- Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore Thursday said she was "disappointed" at the way the Rubonia Community Center is being operated.

The center, which sits amid the tiny community north of Palmetto, has no programs running right now due to budget problems, The Herald reported last week.

Commissioners discussed how they might jump start improvements at the conclusion of a land-use meeting.

The building is owned by the Manatee County School Board, but is operated by a nonprofit organization, United Community Centers, Inc., said Ed Hunzeker, county administrator.

Several efforts to address the matter are already underway, including those of Patrick Carnegie, president of United Community Centers, said County Commissioner Larry Bustle.

Bustle told the board he has been trying to schedule a meeting involving community members interested in the center's operation, but so far, no date has been set.

County staff members are also working on ideas that could re-energize the center, said Commission Chairman John Chappie.

Last week, Carnegie said he was trying to formulate a comprehensive plan to reopen programs at the center, but did not expect a quick fix, The Herald reported.

In the meantime, 12-15

children who signed up for after-school programs there had been transferred to other centers, it said.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of an own-ership change of the cen-ter's property, but concluded such an idea should beconsidered among a rangeof possible solutions that should be evaluated together.

A review of the facility site at 1309 72nd St. E. is under way after two young men recently appeared before commissioners to say they would like more to do there.

The county funds a portion of the center's budget, with the remainder from sources like private donors, fundraisers and United Way.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.

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