EDITORíS DESK: Now hereís some good news
The city, not to mention the Westside, got very lucky in 2010. The news article starting on Page 1 gives the basic history of the deal that brought the action arm of the Woodmen Valley Chapel to the Westside Community Center - at a time when City Council had no viable option other than closure - and the
successes leading up to the three-year extension that keeps the Woodmen group in place at least through 2015.
But the article does not go into the politics that threatened to keep the agreement from even happening in the spring of 2010. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Even after Woodmen's Dick Siever (now the center director) had explained to council that the Westside Community Center LLC was asking nothing of the city except a chance to run the place, there were people pleading with council not to accept the offer. There were also numerous rumors - anonymously started, but you know who you are - all seeming to grow out of the fear that the center would transmogrify into some kind of God Shop, where the Christians would do horrible things... like what? Help people? Run the center twice as efficiently as the city did? Create or expand informational and self-betterment opportunities? Set up a garden? Give the Westside CARES pantry a better location?
What generally goes unreported (because Siever likes to stay low-key) is why complaints from the surrounding neighborhood are few and far between. That's because the center goes out of its way to reach out to those who live nearby and make them feel like part of the effort.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine the Westside without the center we have now. So, for those of you who always (understandably) ask for "good news," I offer the LLC's new three-year agreement with the city. It doesn't come better than this.