GUEST COLUMN:
OWN backs Woodmen
By Robert Maez

       To whom it may concern:
       The purpose of this letter is to advise you that the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) endorses the efforts of Woodmen Valley Chapel and its collaborative partners to obtain approval of a proposal (as OWN understands it) to operate and coordinate activities and services at the Westside Community Center.
       OWN representatives have met with Jim Faber of Pikes Peak Community Action Agency and Dick Siever from A Call to Serve (A.C.T.S.) [a community-service outreach of Woodmen Valley Chapel]. Mr. Siever and a representative from Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, along with Mrs. Jan Doran, attended OWN's Feb. 11 Board of Directors meeting, at which time they outlined the broad parameters of their proposal. OWN was impressed with both the level of planning that has already accompanied their approach to this endeavor along with the forthrightness and clarity with which they answered questions and addressed concerns to the organization.
       OWN understands that a central administrative entity will be established to oversee, coordinate and manage the provisions of activities and services at the Community Center and that a number of “collaborative partners” will work with this central administrative entity. The collaborative partners identified to date include:
  • Silver Key.
  • Peak Vista.
  • Westside CARES.
  • Greccio Housing.
  • Pikes Peak Community Action Agency (and the Billie Spielman Center).
           We understand discussion is underway with the following organizations to offer programs at the Westside Center:
  • YMCA.
  • Boy Scouts.
  • Girl Scouts.
  • Pikes Peak Library District.
  • Rock Ledge Ranch Living History Association.
           OWN understands that the central administrative agency will be committed to continuing and, perhaps expanding many of the most popular and healthful activities currently in place at the community center, including:
  • Golden Circle nutrition program.
  • Quest camps, teen trips and the Teen Recreation Center.
  • AARP driver safety program.
  • Exercise classes and the fitness center.
  • Art classes.
           OWN applauds these goals and targets because the community center is just that: a gathering place for Westside neighbors to gather, learn, and grow together in the pursuit of healthy and supportive activities and programs.
           OWN understands that a significant amount of financial support has already been garnered for this effort and that the organizers of the proposal are optimistic that a realistic budget for Center operations can and will be financed.
           OWN understands that although the fine folks at Woodman Valley Chapel will be significantly involved in the community center, their presence will not be for the purpose of direct religious proselytizing but instead for the purpose of showing the love and support of their fellow human beings on the Westside of Colorado Springs. OWN is pleased with Mr. Siever's clarity on this subject.
           The center truly is a hub of important and supportive activity on our side of town. Losing this hub would be a most unfortunate event. OWN has explored various options that would allow the center to continue in its operations without city funding. OWN is impressed and satisfied with the parameters of this proposal as we understand it. It represents the best, most responsible and most viable option by which the center can remain open serving the public.
           The Organization of Westside Neighbors is proud to endorse this proposal.
          
    By direction of the Board.
           Welling Clark