Tuesday, I attended a community meeting concerning our pool and community center.
The city is considering options for finding the funds for a $25M upgrade to the building: public-private partnership (many are hotly opposed), a rich donor (know anyone?), levying taxes (again?), or anything else the community proposes. They seemed unwilling to prioritize the importance of community health to allocate a larger percentage of the annual budget to Parks and Rec.
The center is a place where we build community. It’s a place for neighbors to meet, interact and share common interests. As the city community centers are sprinkled just so around the city, it’s the only one that centrally serves the surrounding neighborhoods. The loss of this center would displace us to… Who knows where? It would certainly be more than a logistical inconvenience, it would crowd the other centers and tax their resources. We would lose the centrality of our convergences.
The other issue we are facing is an increase in population. As density rises, and as the city is considering zoning changes to neighborhoods directly feeding into this center, there don’t seem to be considerations for parks or community centers. Has the city considered livability and population health in its urban village discussions? It doesn’t appear that these policy issues are being made holistically.
All this being said, the city was very willing to work with the community to come up with next steps. As the city is not willing to pay for major repairs (throwing good money after a bad cause, is how it was put), we were promised continued discussions and inclusion in any decisions impacting the center.
I will continue to be involved, for personal and civic reasons. It feels more tangible and achievable than fixing the national issues we face today. I really hope we can save the pool and the center. I’ll need to brainstorm proposals.
What ideas do you have for organizing around community issues? How can we find money to save the center?