The public participation process to help inform the future of the Westside Community Center will be launched on Monday

A three-phase public engagement process for Colorado Springs residents to help inform the future of Westside Community Center will begin Monday, April 18 with an online survey. The full process will run until the end of May. Public feedback gathered through this process will be shared with municipal officials who will use it to inform next steps for the community center.

“We are committed to creating an environment that is conducive to listening to what residents are considering and establishing what is appropriate when it comes to West Side support,” said District 3 City Council Member Stephannie Fortune. “The lessons learned from this public participation process will play an important role in the administration’s exploration and decision-making process.

The first phase is an online survey which aims to discover the values ​​shared by the members of the community. A non-digital version of the survey will be available. The survey will be live from April 18-29. The second phase will include a series of focused conversations held May 16-20 with dozens of community members. This phase will explore themes that emerge from the survey and provide participants with many opportunities to share ideas. The third and final phase will be a half-day community workshop on May 21 to develop ideas from the focused conversations into a set of three recommendations for viable long-term options for the Westside Community Center.

All of the recommendations generated by the public process will be presented to City officials so that they can take them into account in determining the next steps.

“Our goal through this process is to provide a variety of ways for Westside residents and the wider community to engage with this project, listen to each other and be heard by the city” said Ryan Trujillo, the city’s deputy chief of staff. “There are many variables that we have to consider when making decisions about next steps for Westside Community Center, and community voice is certainly one of them.”

The public participation process is designed and facilitated by Kimberley Sherwood, who has been retained by the City as a third-party contractor to objectively facilitate the process. Sherwood’s role is to ensure a robust engagement process. She will not be involved in the final decisions made by city officials regarding the community center. Council member Fortune will also be involved throughout the process.

This information was shared during a meeting open to community members in person and online on Friday, April 15. A video recording of the meeting, along with information about the Westside Community Center, is available at ColoradoSprings.gov/WestsideCommunityCenter.

Further information

The city’s operational contract with the Center for Strategic Ministry (CSM) expires on May 31. CSM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has operated the community center since the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services first sought an outside operator in 2010 in response to budget constraints. In March 2022, the City canceled its Request for Proposals (RFP) following CSM’s withdrawal from the process and the procurement evaluation resulted in no further qualified proponents. The City began the process of finding a new operator in November 2020.

Jill E. Washington