COLORADO SPRINGS — Some residents living in the west side would like to see a change in leadership to the Westside Community Center, but the Center for Strategic Ministry recently proposed a 15-year contract extension with the city.
“The community has lost its voice. We’re dependent upon CSM to tell us what they’re going to do as opposed to us telling them what we need,” said Chuck Lucas, westside resident.
“Save the Westside Community Center” was created by a group of residents who want to see changes to their community center.
“The city needs to step forward and stop this contract and talk to the neighborhood and all interested stakeholders,” said Kathy Perry, a neighbor and member of “Save the Westside Community Center.”
They feel the Center for Strategic Ministry, an organization led by the Woodman Valley Chapel isn't inclusive of everybody in their community.
“We need every human being on the westside to be represented in the westside center,” said Irene Lucas, another neighbor.
The leaders of the center disagree.
“For the past 12 years we have never disallowed anyone from participating from holding an event or service of any kind here at the community center,” said Stu Davis, the Director of the Westside Community Center.
The concerned residents also say many of the programs have vanished, but community center director Stu Davis says that’s because of COVID-19.
“There was a substantial portion of 2020 where we had to limit, if not cancel everything we did due to COVID concerns, and over the course of 2021 we’ve really taken a step forward in rebuilding a lot of those and are almost back to 80% or more in some cases than what we were in 2019,” said Davis.
While they work through these issues, the “Save the Westside Community Center” group hopes to have their voices heard, while the Center for Strategic Ministry thinks most of the neighbors believe in their vision.
“I think we’ve got a handful of neighbors that have expressed some concerns, but they’re not representative of a much larger group of neighbors who are really excited that we’re going to offer the kind of stability that we can bring,” said Davis
“And we are just a bunch of neighbors, but we have a voice,” said Perry.
The Center for Strategic Ministry has been operating the center on three-year contracts for the past 12 years prior to most recently presenting the 15-year deal.