To the Editor:
Recently, I was pleased to be a part of the announcement made by Mayor Solomon that the city will be reopening and re-purposing the Buttonwoods Community Center. This building in the heart of the city is a great community asset that seniors, nonprofit organizations, and residents have used for a number of different activities and purposes.
In early 2017 the previous administration decided to close Buttonwoods Community Center. Knowing we had an active senior population using the space and two tenants paying rent to the city to use the facility, then Council President Solomon and I met with the administration and asked the mayor to reconsider his decision to close the building. I spoke with one of the tenants who agreed to pay additional rent to the city for more space in the building. Community members volunteered to help with labor and supplies to fix the roof. I received calls, letters, and e-mails from the residents of Ward 7 and across the city asking that we keep the community center open. Unfortunately, the previous administration went forward and closed the building, even after the City Council passed a resolution 9-0 to keep it open. While we were very disappointed the building was closed, President Solomon and I along with the entire City Council did not give up the fight, and we continued to look for ways to reopen the facility.
On the first day Mayor Solomon was sworn in as mayor he told me we were going to reopen the Buttonwoods Community Center. In his first few weeks as mayor, we went over to Buttonwoods, toured the building, and developed a plan. Mayor Solomon had a number of cosmetic repairs made, got the exterior building cleaned, and had landscaping done on the grounds. In the time since, we have spoken with a number of individuals and nonprofit organizations interested in the facility. While we have a number of great options for utilizing the space, the number one goal is to get the community room open again. This community room was and will once again be a great place for our seniors and our residents to gather, play cards, play bingo, and socialize.
Mayor Solomon and the entire City Council understood from the beginning that Buttonwoods Community Center was more than just a building. It's an important part of our community—a place where people can gather together and enjoy the company of their neighbors. I thank Mayor Solomon for his leadership in this matter. I look forward to continuing to work with him as we reopen this great community asset.
City Council Ward 7