Westside Community Center will operate as a public-private partnership

The City of Colorado Springs today announced a path forward for the Westside Community Center. The center, located in Old Town Colorado, will operate as a public-private partnership. This new operating model, which incorporates feedback from residents’ recommendations, includes City staffing and operational funding and provides opportunities for partnership and revenue generation with external entities, including non-profits. . The first phase of implementation is expected to begin in September.

“After constructive dialogue with residents, we have decided to move forward with a public-private partnership model for the Westside Community Center that incorporates many of the commonalities from the community’s recommendations,” the mayor said. John Suthers. “This new operating model will provide a balanced set of programs, services and businesses that will benefit the entire community. We believe this is the best and most feasible solution for the long-term success of the community center. »

Community center staff will include a city-funded center director as well as the hiring of a full-time program coordinator to develop and lead programs, partnerships, and community engagement activities at the center. Hourly staff will be hired to provide administrative and on-site support. Additionally, the city’s Therapeutic Recreation Program (TRP) will move its staff and strong program offerings from the Memorial Park Athletic Office to the Westside Community Center.

The expansion of programs and services through external partner entities is also part of the new model. A formal process for interested entities will be conducted this year and will be open to all, including organizations that have previously hosted programs at the community center as well as potential new partners. In early 2023, select partners will begin operating on the site, further expanding offerings and generating revenue for the facility and its programs. At a minimum, hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and will expand based on programs and services offered.

“I believe this directive from the municipal administration recognizes that the Westside Community Center must remain a community centre. It is not only a valuable asset to the city, but a community hub and a gathering place for the neighborhood,” said City Council Member (District 3) Stephannie Fortune. “The new structure clearly incorporates a mix of elements from the models put forward during the neighborhood engagement process, and I’m confident it will serve residents well. I will continue to champion this community center and remain committed to implementing the new model. The Advisory Council will play an important role with City staff in charting a course for the future.

It is estimated that the total annual budget for the center will be approximately $372,800. Under its previous operating model, Westside received $100,000 per year.

A working committee formed by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services (PRCS) Advisory Council will be established to help inform Westside’s programs and services. This was a key request during the community engagement process.

Westside is one of four city-owned community centers. Until May 31, 2022, it was operated by the Center for Strategic Ministry (CSM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. CSM had operated the center since 2010, when the PRCS department first sought an external operator in response to budget constraints. In 2020, the City began a process to find a new operator for the center, which ultimately led to the City canceling the procurement process following CSM’s withdrawal.

Jill E. Washington