West Center’s name will change if Parks Board action is upheld
The Westside Community Center.
That would be the new name for what is now the West Center, based on a recommendation approved in a vote of the Colorado Springs Parks Board at its meeting Oct. 8.
According to Parks Director Paul Butcher, the proposed change will next be reviewed Tuesday, Nov. 3 by another city-appointed committee, the Asset Naming Board, which was created three years ago to defuse the Proby Parkway naming controversy. The center's final name would be decided by City Council.
The new name had been proposed by City Parks staff, including E.D. Rucker, who is the executive director of the West Center, based on expanded offerings that are now possible in the larger facility (the former Buena Vista school) that the center moved to last June.
However, the Parks Board vote was not unanimous (one vote in opposition), and there remain two other suggestions that the Naming Board could consider - not to mention new ideas it might come up with - as well as the center's original title: West Center for Intergenerational Learning.
Nobody has asked to keep the latter name, but a private citizen made a pitch at Parks Board to retain the word “intergenerational” in a name that would also include his. The proposed monicker would be the “Kraemer Family Intergenerational Center,” according to Sandy Kraemer, who has been a lawyer in Colorado Springs for 46 years.
Explaining his request, Kraemer conceded that his request “may appear self-serving,” but argued that going back to 1987, he has worked on creating a “worldwide” movement seeking to “connect generations,” including joint ventures with other entities and the establishment of an intergenerational day and week.
He did not respond to a board member's question as to whether Kraemer might offer something to the city in exchange for the naming rights.
Rucker explained to the board that the center initially had a specific “intergenerational” focus - mainly inspired by its original location inside West Middle School - but learned over time that, for the most part, older people's interest in the young tends to be limited to the kids in their families. That was why the center shortened up, at least on an interim basis, to “West Center” after moving to the Buena Vista site, although he stressed that the center continues to offer a range of programs, classes and events for all ages.
Rucker, who has been with the center since 1999, added his impression that “the Westside is very unique in that it offers the city a place of cultural significance. There are some things on the Westside that don't happen anywhere else in terms of art, music and theater.” And, he told the board, he has received “regular” requests from people attending the center to have a name that incorporates the center's location.
Explaining his vote in favor of the staff recommendation, Parks Board member Kent Obee said he liked the simplicity of “Westside Community Center.” “It covers about everything that goes on there,” he said. “And I like identifying it with the part of town that it's in.”
Nancy Hobbs made the motion to approve. The vote was 7 to 1, with Jill Gaebler opposed. Hobbs expressed views similar to those of Obee, while Gaebler expressed discontent that “intergenerational” is no longer is part of the center name.
Board member Richard Stettler was absent
The “Westside Colorado Springs” suggestion was from Welling Clark, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN). He said he was looking for “something that would be representative of the area west of I-25, south of Garden of the Gods road, and Broadmoor north,” but added, “I am not married to any specific name; only that the naming convention be inclusive to the whole area.”
Westside Pioneer article