Spielman Center name shelved in move

       The Billie Spielman Center quietly left the Westside behind this week… as well as its name.

Billie Spielman
Courtesy of PPCAA

Phillip Young during the move.
Westside Pioneer photo

       In moving downtown, the center for the needy will be consolidated with the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency (PPCAA) main office, and the facility will keep only the PPCAA name, according to Phillip Young, who has been the Spielman director.
       Also part of that facility - and giving up its name as well - will be the PPCAA's Norvelle Simpson Center that had been south of downtown, Young said.
       He added that he was sorry to be leaving the Westside Community Center, which Spielman has been in at two locations since 1992. “I had thought we would always be part of the community center,” he said this week. “I think we have done a good job of helping low-income people here.”
       Using federal funds and local donations, the PPCAA focuses especially on helping working families deal with financial setbacks.
       The leadership of the Westside Community Center had told PPCAA at the start of the year that because no other space was available for center programs that need handicapped access, Spielman would have to find a new location.
       The downtown office, which is set to open Aug. 12, will be at 312 S. Weber St., about two miles away from the community center at 1628 W. Bijou St. The phone is 358-8396.
       Only basic information and a mimeographed photo have been located of Billie Spielman herself. Drawing on information from a volunteer, a Westside Pioneer article July 25 had erroneously stated that she started the center. In actuality, according to an interview this week with Norvelle Simpson, a PPCAA director from 1972-1978 who is now retired, the agency started the center in 1968 or '69.
       A printed PPCAA write-up about Billie Spielman states that she came to work on the Westside in 1973 and showed “boundless energy, imagination and genuine concern toward assisting senior citizens, juveniles and the less fortunate,” but a year later she “became very ill and had to stop working.”
       It was around that time that the PPCAA board decided to name the Westside location for her, Simpson said. The write-up adds that despite her illness and being confined to her home, Spielman continued to help the center by taking client calls and giving referrals. She died in 1986.

Westside Pioneer article