COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — During a bike event Saturday at America the Beautiful Park, protestors with a group called Save the Westside Community Center held a demonstration.
They say they’re angry after management at Westside Community Center chose not to renew their contract after several years. They say they’re concerned about the property not remaining a community center, and being developed into something else.
Mayor John Suthers said the city’s goal is to get someone to operate the center in a similar way, with programming for seniors and kids. He also said there’s a reason part of the request for proposal process is being kept from the public.
“If everybody knows what the amount that others have bid, that can undermine our ability to maximize taxpayer dollars and make sure that we get the lowest price for the most qualified contractor,” Suthers said. “So it’s a little bit of misunderstanding about the city’s procurement policy. But frankly, we have the same goals. We want to get someone to run the community center that will do as good a job as Woodmen Valley Chapel.”
The group said they are concerned the request for proposal allows for the center to be turned into housing, a charter school, or a for-profit enterprise.
“The 20-plus protesters today at America the Beautiful Park are concerned that the request for proposal Scope of Work for the Westside Community Center allows for the Center to be turned into housing, a charter school, or a for-profit enterprise,” the group said in a statement. “There is nothing about the Scope of Work statement that requires the Westside Community Center to remain a community center. The City runs 3 community centers and spends two and three times more on them than the City spends on the Westside Community Center. Why is the Westside getting shortchanged? Find out more at Save the Westside Community Center Facebook page and our change.org. petition or come to our Tuesday evening meeting at the center.”
The group is having a public meeting Tuesday at the Westside Community Center.