It was a saga that I covered heavily: The threatened closure of community centers, followed by then-City Councilor Sean Paige's efforts to save them through public-private partnerships, and the eventual transformation of two of the centers through these partnerships.
Meadows Park Community Center was one of the two (the other was Westside) that made the switch. Meadows used a broad-based partnership model, in which the community at-large was expected to support, grow, and help run the center.
I received an update from Meadows Facility Manager Brian Kates recently. So far, Meadows looks to be doing well. But judge for yourself:
Good afternoon everyone. I apologize for the recent gap in communication, but things are beginning to take on a bit of a feverish pace here at the center. A general overview follows, but you all are welcome and encouraged to contact me directly to receive specific information on the area(s) of most interest to you.
· Stratmoor Hills Community Center. Located on 2027 B Street, the satellite operation is taking shape, with a ribbon cutting event scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27, which immediately follows the next scheduled advisory committee meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Pantry shelves have been constructed and patches to the drywall have been applied, compliments of Don Smith of Remnant Church. Wall dividers have been donated and constructed, compliments of Westside Cares. Repairs to the restroom and ceiling tiles have been made (coordinated by Dennis Shaw of Stratmoor Hills United Methodist Church). New paint is being applied and signage on the plaza marquee is expected within a week’s time. And over a ton of food has found its way to the facility, compliments of Westside Cares and Broadmoor Community Church. Meadows Park staffperson Michelle Martinez is the lead coordinator on this project and is your POC on getting involved with the pantry and other opportunities that can be offered at this location.
· Fundraising. Black is becoming the new red, as for the first time in recent memory there is emerging a clear view above the tide. With the recent receipt of $15K ($7.5K in both ’11 and ’12) from The Myron Stratton Home and $1K from the Friends of the Library (Cheyenne branch), the current tally is $72K for the year and growing. A $10K grant with the Karl E Eitel Fund through the El Pomar Foundation is pending, and an additional $4.3K from a donation through the USOC is expected. Finally, a $2K sponsorship was offered by the leadership team at Broadmoor Community Church to offset costs to center youth participants who will be enrolling in summer camp programs this June-August.
· Daddy Daughter Dance. Lots to tell here, much of which can be shared on the 27th, but core objectives were met on all fronts, including participation, evaluation, volunteer support and goodwill generated. Over 620 dads, uncles, grandfathers, daughters, nieces, friends, volunteers and City staff supported last weekend’s extravaganza under the direction of Chris Brownlow, Program Coordinator of the City’s Community Programs and housed at Meadows Park.
· Summer ’11. Just a taste of the collaboration taking place for summer is found in the youth camp experience: USOC ($17.9K financial support and support of 6/23 Olympic Field Day event at Memorial Park), Broadmoor Community Church ($2K registration underwriting), El Pomar Sports Center (Friday sports camp), Metro Rides (125 donated Summer Haul Passes, allowing for free transportation of youth participants and youth volunteers), YMCA Camp Shadybrook (~60% reduction on lowest tier rate of weekly overnight camp for 25 youth from all community centers) and support of 6/23 Olympic Field Day event at Memorial Park for summer campers, Leon’s Kids (underwriting of August 9-10 trip to 10th Mt. Division Hut youth trip), Pikes Peak Linkers (fully sponsored 8 week learn to golf program), Pikes Peak Library District (Summer Reading Program), City of CS Community Programs (Page to Stage program in conjunction with PPLD Summer Reading Program) and Cheyenne Mountain High School Interact Club (weekly support of swimming, hiking and games on school’s sports fields), Remnant Church (beach volleyball).
· Park and Recreation Advisory Board. Karen Fleming and I presented to the board yesterday morning, as they requested an update on the center and this Broad-based Partnership model. Unanimous support and encouragement to continue as we are was provided. All requested a copy that Scott Lovaas of Broadmoor Community Church and I have co-authored that attempts to provide an overview of the advisory committee’s work (see attached and feel free to share).
· City Council Resolution of Appreciation. On March 22, over 45 of us were in City Hall Council Chambers, where a resolution was presented to the group for its outstanding work in supporting the center and providing needed services to the local community. For those who want to see the video, please visit http://www.springsgov.com/Page.aspx?NavID=252 and select “March 22, 2011” under the “Formal Council” tab. The resolution takes place 5 minutes into the meeting. The original framed resolution now proudly hangs on the wall at the center’s reception desk.
· Fire and Life Consortium. Think of our advisory committee with a focus on the entire city and addressing safety through prevention and collaboration and you have the idea. For all interested in getting involved, please contact me or Jane Zook of the CSFD (email@example.com).
· Partnership with Harrison School District 2. A public unveiling of the district’s 5 year master plan will take place on April 20, which include a prominent element of community collaboration. In a recent meeting with school administrators, a strong desire to strengthen the partnership was expressed. A meeting is set for Wednesday, May 11 at Meadows Park to discuss this in further detail. All interested in this collaboration, including Peak Education, Westside Cares, Community Programs, KidPower and the Colorado Springs Conservatory are encouraged to attend.
· Girls on the Run. 11 girls in grades 3-5 enrolled in this 10 week program, with the big 5K race set for May 21 in Denver. Support from volunteer coaches as well as members of the Colorado Coalition for Girls has made this a very positive and successful program. All interested in seeing it in action are encouraged to stop by the center between 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
· Easter party. Next Thursday afternoon, volunteer Judith Erikson will orchestrate a kid-focused, family friendly celebration at the center. Tecumseh Center, Inc. has generously donated items for all who attended, including baskets and other special gifts. See the attached flyer FMI.
· Leadership Pikes Peak. This year’s class will be visiting the center on April 28 to learn about the operation and the work that we are involved with. Please join me in this presentation, which will run from ~9-11:30 a.m. Representation from across the board would be ideal.
· Garden. Three garden beds were installed under the direction of volunteer Fleming and through volunteers from Academy Christian Church, to be enjoyed by members of the Meadows Park Community Preschool, senior diners, and all in between. Volunteers are needed to assist Karen, the local Girl Scout troop and myself as we look to bring this online in the next few weeks.
· Enrollment Fair May 14. Over $650 has been pledged to offer a health care event at the center similar to the one offered by Peak Vista Community Health on February 5. Food, games and entertainment would accompany efforts to enroll uninsured and underinsured citizens into healthcare programs. More to come…please stay tuned and contact me if you wish to get involved.
· …and much more. Again, contact me anytime and I will gladly provide you with additional details based on your level of interest.
We hope to see you all on the 27th and 28th! The very best to all, Brian
Facility Director, Meadows Park Community Center