The call for longer hours came at the city's Human Relations Commission retreat, where a group of 20 residents and the commission discussed what was needed for harmony among populations in Redlands.
The group was shocked to learn that access to the sports venue at the Community Center is not what they thought it was.
The center closes at 7 p.m. and is closed on Saturdays. After school the room is reserved for private groups. That's a problem, everyone agreed.
"My son was shot at 7 p.m. by another 16-year-old," said Gail Howard, mother of Jordan Howard, one of three survivors in a Jan. 5, 2011, double homicide that claimed the lives of Andrew Jackson, 16, and Quinn McCaleb, 17.
Both were shot at Cinnamon Creek apartments.
"If the center had been open until 9o'clock, Andrew Jackson would have been here playing basketball," Mark Jurado Sr. said. "I knew him. My brother coached him. He would have been here."
Mark Jurado Jr. said some children are riding their bicycles to Yucaipa to play basketball in the evening, which means they're riding home late, through the groves.
A plan for supporting youth programs is needed, Judith Ashton said.
"I would need a lot of you to come to the City Council meeting and be very strong," said Redlands Councilman Bob Gardner. "Request an estimate of what it would cost and put it on the agenda. That's what's needed to push this forward."
The benefits of creating places for Redlands youth riled enthusiasm in the group. Those benefits included the arts, suggested by Ande Spencer.
"There's also some opportunity to create some jobs here," Gardner said.
The commission voted to take the issue to the City Council Feb. 19.
The public was invited to participate in the discussion about what was needed for harmony in Redlands, which is the charge of the commission. So the discussion turned to other issues.
The Christmas Block Party was heralded, but organizers said there were some glitches.
"We have to do something different next year," Howard said. "We gave away 25 bicycles and only one person from Redlands got one."
The rest were from San Bernardino, where they have their own block party, she said. Next year, in order to participate in the bike giveaway, proof of residency should be required, she suggested.
"One from Redlands, that broke my heart. Let's take care of our own first," Howard said.
Joe Gonzalez brought up an issue that bullied children needed to know where to turn. Bob Reid said bullying needed to be addressed at the middle school level.
"(The needs of children and teens) seem to be the focus of the meeting today. Youth services needs to be one of our goals for 2013," Ashton said.
University of Redlands President Emeritus James Appleton gave a presentation about an upcoming Community Leadership Program.
He discussed the need for new leadership, specifically for more diversity and representation of North Redlands.
"We're going to talk about opportunities in leadership and how to change Redlands for the better," said Gardner, who will be one of the instructors of the seven-week course.
Other instructors will be Eldon Baber, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse and an expert in not-for-profit organization development; Renee Van Vechten, chairwoman of the UofR Department of Government; Keith Osajima, director of race and ethnic studies at the UofR; Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia; Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar; and Grant Doster, conflict management instructor.
The sessions will be leadership, community projects, building communities, diversity and inclusion, leadership ethics, local government and opportunities for leadership, and conflict management.
"(Appleton) feels strongly about the need for practical leadership skills and he's good at it," Gardner said.
The cost of the course is $95, and scholarships are available.
Classes will run March 21 to May 2 from 6-9 p.m at the U of R. Attendees are eligible for 2.1 continuing education units.
Register online at redlands.edu. For information email
email@example.com or call 909-748-8868.
Reach Toni via email, call her at 909-793-3221, or find her on Twitter @ToniMomberger.