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"We are committed to creating an environment conducive to hearing what residents envision and establishing what is appropriate in regard to supporting the westside," said Stephannie Fortune, City Councilmember, District 3. "The learnings from this public participation process will be a significant part of the administration's exploration and decision-making process."
Phase one is an online survey that aims to discover values shared by community members. A non-digital version of the survey is available. The survey is open from April 18-29. Phase two will involve a series of focused conversations held May 16-17 with dozens of community members. This phase will explore the themes that emerge from the survey and provide ample opportunity for participants to share ideas. The third and final phase will be a full-day community workshop on May 21 to build out the ideas from the focused conversations into a set of three recommendations for viable long-term options for the Westside Community Center. The workshop is open to anyone who registers and commits to attending the full session.
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The set of recommendations generated from the public process will be presented to City officials for their consideration in determining next steps.
"Our goal through this process is to provide a variety of ways for westside residents and the broader community to engage with this project, listen to one another, and be heard by the City," said Ryan Trujillo, City deputy chief of staff. "There are many variables for us to consider as we make decisions regarding next steps for the Westside Community Center, and community voice is certainly one of them."
The public participation process is designed and facilitated by Kimberley Sherwood who has been retained by the City as a third-party contractor to objectively facilitate the process. Sherwood's role is to ensure a robust participation process. She will not be involved in any final decisions made by City officials regarding the community center. Councilmember Fortune will also be involved throughout the process.
This information was first shared in a meeting open to community members both in person and online on Friday, April 15. A video recording of the meeting, as well as information about the Westside Community Center, is available at ColoradoSprings.gov/WestsideCommunityCenter. This process is fluid and subject to change.
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The City's operational contract with the Center for Strategic Ministry (CSM) expires on May 31. CSM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has operated the community center since the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department first sought an external operator in 2010 as a response to budgetary constraints. In March 2022, the City cancelled its request for proposal (RFP) following CSM's withdrawal from the process, and the procurement evaluation resulting in no additional qualified proposers. The City began the process to find a new operator in November 2020.
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