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 change.org) 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 email@example.com to get involved with these efforts, as well as the Southwest CC Advisory Council, chaired by Tom Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org. City information about the community-center changes is here, though it’s spread across multiple documents.