Now the foundation, one of the largest and oldest in the Rocky Mountain West, is giving $20,000 to aid an effort to keep three community centers open through public-private partnerships after their funding runs out in 2010, Councilman Sean Paige said today.
“Unless we finish this partnership initiative strong, a lot of these facilities won’t be there next summer,” he said.
Last year, the Deerfield Hills, Hillside, Meadows Park and Westside community centers and other recreational facilities were poised to be closed under the 2010 budget.
But at Paige’s urging, the City Council decided to keep them open for the first three months of the year to give residents a chance to develop long-term funding sources through public-private partnerships.
The effort had modest success.
Hoping the partnership effort would continue to grow with additional time, a council majority agreed to dip into the city’s rainy-day fund to keep the three other community centers open through 2010.
But the centers will be on the chopping block again in 2011.
Paige wants to prevent that from happening and said the money from El Pomar will be used to “create a volunteer corps and also create a new nonprofit that could serve as an umbrella for the community centers, much like the Woodmen Valley group is doing over in the Westside Community Center.”
The new nonprofit, called the Community Partnership Project, will also allow supporters of the effort to collect tax-free donations, he said.
El Pomar’s gift — $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in legal services and help in creating the nonprofit — were announced at a news conference at the Hillside Community Center at 1 p.m. today.
Paige and others also wanted to remind residents that “this could be the last summer season” for Hillside and the other community centers.
“There still is urgency, and we just want to make sure everybody in the community knows that these facilities are still at risk, and we still need to find partners,” Paige said.