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FAIRFAX COUNTY STORIES

HONORING OVER 400 YEARS -- SINCE 1607 JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT -- OF FAIRFAX COUNTY HISTORY
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BECAUSE OF THE TIGHT BUDGET SITUATION, THE PLANNED REQUEST FOR RENTAL PAYMENTS TO CHURCHES HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO A TIME WHEN COUNTY FINANCIAL SITUATION IS MUCH BETTER.  WE HAVE ASKED NCS IF OTHER LIBRARIES (KINGS PARK AND BURKE CENTRE) COULD PROVIDE FACILITIES LIKE POHICK LIBRARY FOR BWSSCWOW PROGRAMS.  WE ALSO ASKED IF NCS COULD PARTNER WITH SOUTH RUN REC CENTER FOR USE OF FACILITIES FOR BWSSCWOW SENIOR PROGRAMS DURING THE 10AM-2PM TIME PERIOD WHEN SOUTH RUN REC CENTER FACILITIES ARE USUALLY NOT IN USE.


PLANNED Letter to Churches/Organizations Providing Facilities for Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls:
1.  We thank the Churches and Private Organizations for supporting the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (BWSSCWoW), particularly those that donated facilities for free use by BWSSCWoW senior fitness/health programs since 2009.

2.  During the Budget hearings in Spring 2017, BWSSCWoW will provide testimonies requesting $50,000 annually to pay for the churches and community facilities -- similar to payments paid to Fairfax County public schools.  The amount would be much less than the $40,000+ annual budget for storefront lease arrangements for senior centers, like Lorton and Kingstowne Senior Centers, because we will still be unable to expand to full-year programs and are not asking for additional staff at this time.

3.  The Neighborhood and County Services (NCS) has been paying Fairfax County public schools $37 per hour for use of facilities by BWSSCWoW -- while refusing to pay the churches and community organizations that donate similar facilities and have to pay for maintenance and utilities like the public school system.  This unfair situation has led to the loss of facilities because churches could not donate for free in perpetuity.  BWSSCWoW has waiting lists and has been unable to expand programs to meet the rising demand from the dramatically growing senior population in the West Springfield area.  NCS reports that the permanent senior centers in other districts all have rising waiting lists because senior population is growing fast in all Fairfax County.
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4.  We ask that the supporters of the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls join BWSSCWoW in requesting fair payment for churches and community facilities ($50,000 annually starting in 2017) -- and 2017 funding for the feasibility study so we could move forward with the project for the FY2020 Bond Referendum for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park that has already been approved in the Fairfax County Capital Improvements Plan.  During the November 2016 elections, Fairfax County voters strongly approved 63% to 37% the bond referendum with $37 million bond to build two new Community Centers - Lorton and Sully Community Centers.

5.  Please send a message supporting BWSSCWoW to Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova who initiated the project for the bond referendum for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park during our meeting on Apriil 13, 2016.
Below is the history of the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (BWSSCWoW) starting with the 2007 petition by Corazon Sandoval Foley, who has served as the BWSSCWoW Founding Chairman.



Review by Corazon Foley of BWSSCWoW history and situation as of October 22, 2016:
1.  The Foley 2007 petition was for a Senior Center in South Run Park.

2.  The Great Recession forced us to a compromise with the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (BWSSCWoW) because county officials said there was "no money nor staff" for Senior Center in South Run Park.

3.   The county problems of the Great Recession persuaded churches and private organizations (Burke Conservancy) to help seniors and donate facilities for free for the programs of the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls -- even as the county continued to pay public schools their fees for facility maintenance.

4.  The churches can donate for a few years but most cannot continue donating facilities for free in perpetuity -- and BWSSCWoW has lost some churches over time with more likely to drop out as well because of the difficulty of donating for free the facilities that they maintain and for which they could charge fees.

5.  BWSSCWoW could not expand to meet increasing demand from the growing number of seniors in the area because of difficulties with asking churches and private groups to donate facilities for free for extended periods of time (32 weeks a year regularly) -- even as churches have to pay for facility maintenance with their limited budgets.

6.  Rising senior population has led to growing waiting lists in 17 senior/community centers in other districts. 

7.  The county's financial situation has changed since the Great Recession, particularly with the NEW Providence Community Center that started operating in 2015 with some $375,000+ annual operating budget.

Therefore:
1.  The county should normalize the situation by applying standard operating procedures with payment to schools, as well as  churches/community facilities, used by BWSSCWoW, estimated by NCS county staff at some $50,000 annually, starting in 2017.  We understand that the Neighborhood and County Services (NCS) has been paying some $37 per hour to Fairfax public school facilities for BWSSCWoW senior fitness/health programs.

2.  This approach would still be less than the $400,000+ annually for storefront rental arrangement (mainly because we still would not be able to expand to provide year-long programs like permanent senior centers nor are we seeking additional staff at this time).  

3.   Meanwhile, we are building the grassroots Coalition for the FY2020 bond referendum for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park that has been in the approved list for Capital Improvements Project (CIP) for over five years (and was included as a result of the 2007 Foley petition for a Senior Center in South Run Park).  The FY2016 Bond Referendum includes $37 million for two (2) community centers:  Lorton and Sully Community Centers.

4.  The county should fund the feasibility study in 2017 for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park that would provide very important programs for young and old (including needed inter-generational mentoring programs) and assist sports and civic associations needing indoor facilities for their programs.

Note: The senior center without walls is a very successful concept, particularly as an interim solution for needed senior programs when the county has "no money nor staff" as in the Great Recession.  The Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (BWSSCWoW) has supported over 1,000 seniors in the Springfield District, the only district without a permanent senior center.  During the 2015 elections, some 19% or 4,228 Springfield voters supported the Foley campaign focused on one issue -- our petition for a permanent facility for the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center (Currently without Walls).  

During our meeting on June 22, 2016, Pat Herrity stated his support for the full-fledged Springfield Community Center in the CIP -- but he has not been supportive, particularly with our requests to pay churches/community facilities used by BWSSCWoW, similar to payments to Fairfax County public schools.  He did not support request made on September 20, 2016.

Many thanks to Chairman Sharon Bulova who has provided active support for our petition since our November 21, 2015 demonstration at the Fairfax County Government Center -- particularly in arranging for the use of Pohick Regional Library for BWSSCWoW Thursday classes.



 November 27, 2016 Update:  Coalition for Springfield Community Center at South Run Park.
BWSSCWoW Advisory Council and other members will be testifying in April 2017 
to request INTERIM funding of $50,000 for BWSSCWoW (to pay for community facilities) 
while working for the full-fledged Springfield Community Center at South Run Park
that is in the approved Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) for which Chairman Sharon Bulova 
has taken the lead since our meeting on April 13, 2016.  

Please email me If you would like to testify during the 2017 budget hearing -- as well as your suggestions for community groups (including youth groups, faith communities, civic associations) that we could invite to join the coalition for 
the FY2020 Bond Referendum for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park.

Suggestions are welcome for the Facebook Webpage:
that aims to develop a coalition for the FY2020 Bond Referendum for the Springfield Community Center in South Run Park
to strengthen Chairman Sharon Bulova's leadership to support seniors and families, youth, sports/civic organizations.