The Guadalupe Neighborhood Center moved to a temporary location on First Street at the end of last year because their old building just around the corner at Guadalupe Park was condemned and will be torn down May 31st. They were hoping to rebuild on that old location, but now concerns over the temporary building are taking away the center's funding and may cause the center to close altogether. That's a sad prospect for the North Lubbock community.
Rafael Valdivia says, "It was a place to grow up, meet friends and hang out." Valdivia called the Guadalupe Neighborhood Center home four nights a weeks when he was a kid. He recalls a great deal of the green grass outside was worn away from the traffic of many happy memories. He says, "We had a lot of flag football leagues and softball leagues going. Softball we played together for over 12 years. This place has a lot of history for us. It would be a shame to have it close down."
The United Way provides about 90% of the center's funding. They've decided to reduce that amount because they feel the center's temporary facility is substandard and too small for the amount of kids who go there. Jim Waller, the Center's Executive Director says, "It's not the best building in the world, but it's temporary and our board is in the process of making efforts to raise money and to build a new facility on the grounds of the park."
Waller says losing funding means losing the program. It takes about $30,000 a year to operate. The United Way tells NewsChannel 11 it just temporarily shifted the funds to the YWCA program at Guadalupe Elementary until a new facility is built, but building a donor base is difficult. Waller says, "It takes more than the year I've been here to do that."
Many of the tall trees at the original neighborhood center survived the tornado of 1970. Rafael Valdivia hopes the center too will survive. He says, "I think it'd leave a pretty vacant spot here for everybody not to have this place to come to."
The United Way says their cuts are only temporary and if the Guadalupe Neighborhood Center can find a new facility they will likely restore funding.
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