Rejection from neighbors at the Westside Community Center

COLORADO SPRINGS — Some Westside residents would like to see a change in management at the Westside Community Center, but the Center for Strategic Ministry recently offered a 15-year contract extension with the city.

“The community has lost its voice. We depend on CSM to tell us what they’re going to do instead of telling us what we need,” said Westside resident Chuck Lucas.

Save the Westside Community Center was created by a group of residents who want to see change in their community center.

“The city needs to step up and stop this contract and talk to the neighborhood and all interested stakeholders,” said Kathy Perry, a neighbor and Save the Westside Community Center member.

They feel that the Center for Strategic Ministry, an organization run by Woodman Valley Chapel, does not include everyone in their community.

“We need every human being on the West Side to be represented in the West Side Center,” said Irene Lucas, another neighbor.

Center leaders disagree.

“In the past 12 years, we have never prohibited anyone from participating in holding an event or service of any kind here at the Community Center,” said Stu Davis, Westside Manager Community Center.

Concerned residents also say many programs have disappeared, but community center manager Stu Davis says it’s because of COVID-19.

“There was a substantial part of 2020 where we had to limit or even cancel everything we did due to COVID issues, and during 2021 we really took a step forward in rebuilding. a lot of those and are almost back to 80% or more in some cases than we were in 2019,” Davis said.

As they work through these issues, Save the Westside Community Center hopes to make their voices heard, while the Center for Strategic Ministry believes most neighbors believe in their vision.

“I think we have a handful of neighbors who have expressed concerns, but they’re not representative of a much larger group of neighbors who are really excited that we’re going to provide the kind of stability that we can provide,” said said Davis

“And we’re just a bunch of neighbors, but we have a voice,” Perry said.

The Center for Strategic Ministry has operated the center on three-year contracts for the past 12 years before more recently presenting the 15-year agreement.

Jill E. Washington