TAKOMA Park, MD – After years of enduring resident complaints about a subpar recreation center as well as their unwillingness to pay for the center’s renovation, the Takoma Park Acting City Managers have launched the Little Free Rec Centers initiative as a novel way to greatly expand city services with zero increase in property taxes.
“The physical well-being of our residents is important to our community, but even more important is not burdening them with the responsibility of having to pay for it,” said acting city manager Jacob Burns at the ribbon cutting of the first Little Free Rec Center on Boyd Avenue. “This is just the beginning, but inside of this beautifully crafted artisanal box commissioned from an expensive local woodworker, local teens looking to play pick-up basketball after school can find a size 7 pair of black Converse Chucks and a deflated volleyball.”
With the anticipated success of Little Free Rec Centers – modeled on the volunteer-led Little Free Library movement – city officials are already commissioning designs for other government services that residents of Takoma Park would start providing for themselves, such as Little Free Mulch Piles, Little Free Notary Publics, and Little Free Fourth of July Fireworks.
While many Takoma Park residents enjoy the whimsy of Little Free services, others are less convinced.
“I was intending to provide testimony at last week’s Little Free City Council Meeting to express my disapproval of something, but the line to get in was too long,” said longtime resident Constance Komplanor while passing by the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Instead, I had to drive to the Little Free Municipal Forms at Carroll and Flower, then put my note in the Little Free Complaint Box at Maple and Philadelphia.”
While city officials acknowledge some growing pains with the new service delivery model, they are confident that it will come to be seen as the norm. “With our new self-serve Little Free City Arborist at the intersection of Tulip and Willow Avenue, residents have already created a routine of picking up pre-filled citations for $500 fines in anticipation of unwittingly violating an obscure code at some unknown time in the future,” said Burns. “It’s a win-win!”