Video: Fight to save Southwest Community Center goes downtown

Supporters of Southwest Community Center converged on the City Council budget hearing downtown last night, hoping to convince councilmembers to drop the current proposal to dramatically change the center. In essence, as reported here in September, it would no longer be Southwest CC, but would become Southwest Teen Life Center, with part of its space taken by a Neighborhood Service Center (the only one in West Seattle, moving from its current spot in Delridge). Kathleen Lonergan of the Family Learning Center, a program based at SWCC, shared photos (that’s her at the microphone in the top photo) and an update on their efforts:

We had a great turnout for the City Council meeting last night. We had over 50 people show up to support the effort to save SWCC. We signed in as two groups and were able to speak for 10 minutes. The speakers were myself, Erica Forrest and Michael Goerz. We submitted almost 250 signatures on our petition – these were gathered in the lobby of SWCC in less than one week! We intend to keep the petition available at SWCC (and online at right up until the final vote on November 21st. We also continue to direct people to our facebook page so we can keep them up to date on the fight to keep SWCC open and available to all of our neighbors in Southwest Seattle.

Here’s the Seattle Channel video of the entire hearing – if you drag the “play” button ahead to the 73:30 mark, you can watch what the Southwest CC supporters said:

Kathleen adds that Karen Crisalli Winter of West Seattle spoke on behalf of Southwest CC as a private citizen (87:30 on the video). We asked Kathleen what else they are doing as a followup to the hearing:

Right now we are encouraging the community to write follow-up letters to the meeting last night. We will keep the petition going. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is coming by at 2 pm on November 4th to tour the center with us. Our kids are taking flyers door to door in our neighborhood, asking people to contact city council. That’s all we have at the moment. We’d love to organize a meeting but we need more community members to get on board with us, otherwise we’re just talking to ourselves and we’ve already done a lot of that!

What we would love is for more members of the SW Seattle community to contact us, put pressure on the city council, and help spread the word about what’s happening. … Our biggest hurdle is still the fact that so few people really know what’s happening.

We REALLY want to keep the NSC out of Southwest. We don’t feel this relocation benefits anyone except the city. It destroys the available space at SWCC. Even private programs, such as ours, that are being offered space at SWCC after the closure, will be hard-pressed to fit into the center once it’s been remodeled to accommodate the NSC. And it puts the NSC in a much less accessible location for anyone riding the bus. It’s a bad fit all around. We want the community to get as mad about this as we are!

You can contact Kathleen at to get involved with these efforts, as well as the Southwest CC Advisory Council, chaired by Tom Foley at City information about the community-center changes is here, though it’s spread across multiple documents.

3 Replies to "Video: Fight to save Southwest Community Center goes downtown"

  • Diane October 27, 2011 (3:32 pm)

    just saw them all live on ch21 seattlechannel; excellent!!!

  • Diane October 27, 2011 (5:59 pm)

    clearly, I need some sleep/don’t know what day it is; thought I was watching LIVE budget hearing, wondering “why do they keep saying ‘evening’?”; finally realized it was last night’s replay; another moment in life to feel like an idiot

  • Jayne McIntyre October 28, 2011 (2:23 pm)

    I want to thank all that have put so much into this fight. I encourage everyone to join in the effort to save SW Community Center. Many thanks to Kathleen, Erica, Michael and all of you who showed up at the City Council meeting and helped with the preparation. I hope that the City Council is listening to everything that is said and are able to right this horrible wrong that is happening to SWCC. I was so proud to witness first-hand how the kids that use SWCC stood up in front of the City Council and the cameras with the signs that they helped make to make a statement to everyone that they are citizens also. It should prove to City Council that they are learning alot at SWCC if they are being responsible citizens and they really like their community center and don’t want to have to go to another center. Thanks again to everyone who is helping in this effort. Remember, just a few voices are not heard as well as LOTS of voices. So get out there and tell the Mayor and City Council how you feel about not having a community center in your neighborhood.

    Years ago we did up a Comprehensive Plan for the City of Seattle and Westwood was considered an Urban Village and I thought that meant that everything would be close together in one village?!? If this happens it will no longer be an Urban Village because the community will have to leave their community to go to a community center. Doesn’t this affect the Comprehensive Plan that was submitted to the State of Washington? Does it lower money that the City gets? Just something to think about.

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