In a nutshell, Rivera said people’s fears are “totally unfounded.”
Although details of the proposal remain hush-hush because of ongoing negotiations, people who use the center fear the church will shove religion down their throats. Others worry a community garden will be uprooted. A woman who runs a dance studio feared her group would be kicked out or forced to dance on a – gasp! – linoleum floor.
“I just think it stems from rumors people hear and then taking them to heart and getting worried without verifying the veracity of the rumor,” Rivera said.
“I think it’s totally unfounded,” he added.
In fact, he said, the church plans to offer more services if it takes over operations, from medical clinics with “lots of volunteer nurses” to other nonprofits that aren’t there now.
“I believe, from what I have learned, that the Westside Community Center will actually provide more services and opportunities than it ever has before,” he said.
“Nothing is going to change other than it’s going to be Woodmen Valley LLC running the place, and I think they’ll do a great job,” he said. “They’re very community-minded.”