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.
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.