The “community center” needs a new name
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Thread: The “community center” needs a new name

  1. #1
    Kim Yonkee's Avatar
    Kim Yonkee is offline Ward? Don't you think you were a little bit hard on the Beaver?
    Join Date
    May 1998
    Just beyond the edge of Eureky

    Default The “community center” needs a new name

    Someone called the latest press release to my attention this morning. I haven’t paid much attention so I had to look back at the archives. I’m referring to these two articles:

    Council agrees to relocate city meetings to community center

    Community center moves forward with community meeting room I understand it...

    The city will rent a space to hold regular meetings—in addition to the space it already rents—and the city will have to schedule special meetings in and around other paying customers. There’s not a city meeting room per se. Might be a city meeting, might be a Quinceañera; check with the person who will, now that the foundation is comparatively flush with cash, be hired to rent the space.

    The foundation, which will rent the building to the city, is operating on a hand to mouth basis so they only have definite control of the property until September 1. But they’d like the city to move in because that will “give the foundation credibility.”

    Not to worry. The school board is evidently thinking about giving the property to the city. You may remember, from saner days, that the city absolutely did not want the upkeep or liability. Those concerns have apparently gone down the memory hole.

    The big coup announced this week is that the Chamber of Commerce chocolate festival will be moved from its long time location at the Inn of the Ozarks convention center to the banquet facility across the street, the one quixotically referred to as, “the community center.”

    What “community” does any of this serve...exactly?

    If there’s one thing the community actually needs, it’s the gym that will be fitted with banquet flooring. But... I mean... as a gym. The question that’s never been answered, and which probably doesn’t need to be because we already know the answer is: How and when will actual people get to use the “community center?” It’s not like you can practice 4th grade basketball or senior taekwondo in a room that’s set up for a wedding reception.

    I mention these two things because they’re conflicts that actually happened. The old high school gym couldn’t be used, years ago, because of the mold that seems to be such a surprise to the foundation. This is not the sort of years-long surprise that comes up...oops!...if you’re actually trying to figure out how to match community needs with community assets. At least it shouldn’t unless you’re running a scam or, more charitably, you’re completely inept.

    I was excited for a minute when this project first came up. The office park threw me for a loop. But I thought, “The actual community would probably get more use out of the kiln in the old art room but...ok...setting up a profit center to support ongoing operations isn’t a bad business plan.”

    I suppose you could make a case for making city meetings that don’t conflict with paid events more accessible. It’s swampy though. City meetings are a government function. Citizens already pay taxes for government functions. Now donors to the “community center” will also pay for the city to pay more to have meetings at another foundation profit center, and the citizens who already paid will pay again. Actually, us non-citizens will pay the double dip as well. Not to mention all the people who have already paid for the property in question.

    I have no idea what “community” function it serves to donate money to set up a venue to compete with the Inn of the Ozarks. Plus, the vast majority of the actual community does not belong to the chamber of commerce. How tone deaf do you have to be, exactly, to announce, “Great news people! The chamber has moved its event! Viva la Citizen! Hail the Community!” Uh...what?
    When was the last time 95% of the community paid the least bit of attention to the chamber?

    ( I can answer that: it was when the chamber went on one of its periodic anti-gay rampages. Other than that, most of us seem content to let them congratulate each other.)

    Yes. I’ve seen the announcements of classes at the “community center.” It’s like bait. “ Oh you naysayer! Here we are, working our fingers to the bone to do something nice for the community and you don’t even appreciate the after school program!”

    No. I do. But what this looks like, and I’ve searched and searched and read all the press releases carefully crafted and placed with multiple mentions of “the community center,” what this looks like, for all the world, is yet another tourism promotion business, built with public money and with just enough bones thrown to the actual community (defined: people) to keep the community from flat out rioting.

    Turning an abandoned property into a profitable business is a worthy goal. Worthy but.. it is a different goal than a community center (without scare quotes.) Calling yet another rental facility a “community center” in a town where the community has more space than it can, or ever does use, does not make it so. Maybe tourists need the “community center.” The community needs that gym without the banquet flooring—and not just when it’s not being used by the Chamber.

    Yes. I know. Nobody reads Geekfest and nobody cares what I think. Then again, it wouldn’t matter if this was on Facebook or the NYT. As you know, if you’re a citizen voter, it doesn’t matter what you think either.

    I haven’t donated; and won’t. While I’m “pleased” that the “community center” has managed to raise enough money to hire somebody to rent meeting space, in the unlikely event that I need to find a rental space, I think I’ll go with one of the many, many local businesses that rent space as their business—honestly, just a straight up capitalist pig dog transaction without the icky frosting of, “Why you gotta be so negative, baby? Just give me some money. I’m doing it all for you!”

    I can think of various names for the activity recorded in the press releases...none of which are “community center.”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011


    the jack moyer slush fund water park

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas, United States

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Eureka Springs


    Yup. I've been an opponent to the Community Center of Commerce for a couple of years now. Its a sham. Plain and simple. I talk and talk and research and share information but everybody is afraid to piss off the unholy six that line their pockets off the community and lie to our faces. We need more people to speak out and get real with this deal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Eureka Springs, AR


    Another well thought out letter Kim. If I was to ever run for office you would be my campaign speech writer! When I think of a community center I think of the one in Berryville. How does this "community center" model compare to Berryvilles?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Eureka Springs


    I posted this on another forum a few weeks back.

    Last week a member of the Board of Directors for the Community Center spoke at the council meeting. Initially I was interested in what they had to say. That was shattered when Alderman Mitchell, whom was recognized as having the floor was speaking and this individual insisted on talking over Alderman Mitchell while getting very defensive to borderline aggressive. I found this really annoying since most of the time I can agree with Alderman Mitchell's thoughts, but don't generally condone his presentation or behavior and I felt like I was being forced to feel bad for him. But during this little battle of wills I took away some interesting views and information, which have caused me to think about and research the entire Community Center issue again.

    During the conversation with council about a designated exclusive meeting space. It was stated by the Community Center Representative that he didn't understand why the City needed or wanted an exclusive meeting space and that they needed to give him reason. Then he followed that with. "If we are going to start "carving" off blocks of that building for the city it would affect their financial model."He also, went on to say " I just wish we would get on board with this. This is for the community. This is for people like my daughter and other kids who need a place for recreation and after school activities."

    It's interesting to note that they have already "carved" out a piece of the Community Center for the Chamber of Commerce and there are board members of the Chamber currently sitting on the Community Centers board and a total of 3 members of the ESCCF Board that have been past Chairpersons of the Chamber. I find that set up too convenient and all too unsettling. But the City be damned, even though the city would be saving them $400,000.00 in lease debt which is essentially paying ESCCF rent.

    Now on to the other points. Didn't the taxpayers just build a $13,000,000.00 school? A school that according to survey and attendance projections will be under utilized and at less than 70% occupancy in as little as 6 years. Sounds like there will be ample room for activities and after school activities in a $13,000,00.00 building we have already purchased and are already heating, cooling and insuring?*

    So that was what I took away from that presentation. Now on to other ideas, thoughts and facts.
    Why do we "NEED" a community center? Berryville has a wonderful community center that they struggle to support and they have 3 times the population of Eureka Springs. Holiday Island has a dozen community rooms and spaces that sit empty 75% of the time.*Why create a competing venue for our beautiful auditorium when the city has enough financial woes trying to support it as it is? Why take the potential finances away from something we already have? Yet the ESCC map clearly shows and touts a “Band-shell / Amphitheater”

    When the community was pitched this idea it included a pool, "Splash Park", connecting trails, activity centers and meeting spaces. Cool! Well, this project has changed as evidenced by the ESCCF website. The pool and "Splash Park" has changed to a maybe. This is backed up by words of the ESCCF board member at the 11-27-17 Council meeting and their website.The retail shop spaces has changed to one retail space and cafe" and nine of the spaces are labeled as Class A Office Space. I don't know but that sounds like an office park to me not a Community Center.

    Other facts of interest that people need to consider. After I get more
    coffee and if anybody else is reading this, you may have to go pee.

    Lets start with the ESCCF Board of Directors composed of 11 individuals.
    I am going to rate them as a Green or a Red Light based on position on the
    board, what they bring to the table.

    2 Educators. Green Light.
    1 Minister. Green Light.
    1 Parks Representative. (Trails connection)*
    1 Attorney. Green Light. (Free legal advice)

    This is where it starts to get sketchy to me and many others.

    2 Members of the School Board. RED LIGHT! One of which is the Superintendent of The School Board who own the Community Center Property. Major conflict of interest here. But hey, we'll do whatever we can to secure the property paid for by taxpayers.

    3 Realtor's. RED LIGHT! Two of which are owners of real estate companies. I see a conflict here. Because they are the ones that potentially will be profiting off of increased home values and using the center as a huge selling point in gathering the commissions and fees from both sellers and buyers.

    1 Hotel Mogul. RED LIGHT!!!!! How does a man who tanked a historic hotel in Harrison Arkansas less than 6 years ago and defaulted on 2.8 million dollars in loans, 1.2 million of which was an SBA loan financed by tax dollars. Who under written threat of legal action by the Harrison CATPC (City Advertising Tourists Promotion Commission) for nonpayment of back taxes, before a settlement was finally reached months later, not only get placed on the board to another multi-million dollar project, but made Treasurer? Seriously! You can't make this shit up. Oh, and its all public information available through FOIA and internet newspaper archives.

    But wait Bob! There's more!

    Three of the above are past Chairs or the Director of The Chamber of Commerce whom have already had a piece of the Community Center “Carved” out for them as shown by the office plans on the Foundation website. A Chamber that under their historic leadership had to be bailed out financially time and again on the national level to avoid bankruptcy. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence or faith in their abilities as leaders over a multi-million dollar project.

    Two of which are past board and current Chairperson of the Main Street Eureka Organization (Formerly The Downtown Network). The very Organization that continually misrepresents Eurekas' retail community and blatantly ignores businesses that do not fall within their narrow scope of viability and equity.
    An organization that skims 50% of the donations and 10% of the register sales from Cocktails for a Cause events without mentioning to donors that 50% + of the monies raised are going to pay Jackie Wolvens considerable stipend, but claims she is a volunteer. But yet, direct from the Community Centers Website we have this statement on how Main Street Eureka (The Downtown Network) fits into this and again is reason to give pause and caution. Under the “Concept” tab there is this statement. “Expands the Downtown Network boundaries and becomes central in its revitalization efforts.”

    Now forgive me. But if this organization cannot reach out, communicate and prove ethical and community based leadership, as exampled by the Christmas night market, how is it going to be able to do it with expanded boundaries? Has a space been carved out of the building for them as well?

    When did self-interest and 501 3 c organizations take over this community? Who put these people in charge? We did not vote for them. We did not ask for them to run our businesses. We did not invite them into our lives. They have pushed, pulled, belittled, bullied and manipulated this community for years and every community controversy has had a least one of these organizations or its board members at the center of it. That is not community. That is ego, greed, narcissism and self-indulgence and if you want me and others to “Get on board” with this project you need a few lessons from the examples below to learn leadership, accountability, community and truth. Until then this is about personal agendas, profit and control.

    Community is to me:

    A small independent hotel inviting a senior citizens band to play Christmas
    music on the balcony during The Christmas parade of homes.

    When a resident becomes ill and a local restaurateur organizes a benefit to
    make sure her needs and family are taken care of.

    A young woman tragically dies and a restaurateur organizes a benefit to
    make sure funeral expenses are covered.

    A young hotel clerk organizing a Chili Cook-off and giving new winter
    jackets to the less fortunate.

    A downtown retailer that spends thousands of dollars on sporting equipment
    for our local sports teams and youngsters.

    A couples house and business burns in a fire and in less than an hour they
    have a temporary roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.

    A Bar/ Restaurant owner organizing a food drive to feed the homeless.

    Citizens working together to fill backpacks with schools supplies for underprivledged
    children going back to school.

    Over 70% of Eureka citizens voting for equality.

    Local artisans and chefs coming together to create a fundraiser for food banks.

    A local dance studio entertaining the masses in a local park on a monthly

    After a heavy rainstorm seeing citizens out sweeping the street and helping
    their neighbors clean up the damages.

    A group of artisans and children banding together to design, refurbish and
    create a beautiful mural on a staircase.

    Churches having community dinners every holiday to embrace each other and
    create camaraderie

    A local shop manager organizes a fund raiser so no child goes without a
    school lunch.

    Community. They expect no thanks because what they are doing comes from the
    heart. There is no desire to be in the newspaper because they already know
    their actions are appreciated. There is no need to poor mouth or beg for
    money because what they are doing is priceless.*

    Last edited by The Barbear; 12-29-2017 at 07:11 PM.
    ​​Money is not community.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Bravo, Bear, Bravo!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Let's not forget just lacking in community spirit people who saw this coming were branded. There is at least one person that I have never and will never involve myself with in any way. If said person is on any committee you can bet it will be hi-jacked. This is the JM/OPM Center.
    "They tried to bury us, but did not know we were seeds." Mexican proverb

  9. #9
    Kim Yonkee's Avatar
    Kim Yonkee is offline Ward? Don't you think you were a little bit hard on the Beaver?
    Join Date
    May 1998
    Just beyond the edge of Eureky


    Much as I love to give ol’ Jack a thump now and then he’s not the only person in charge. Most people who have had the pleasure are well aware that Jack is to the chamber/any committee as Trump is to the Republican Party. All the saner, wiser heads are saying, “No! That crook spouting incomprehensible gobbledegook isn’t in charge!”

    Then, somehow—nobody can explain exactly how—you end up with the Trump “business trust” renting the ballroom to the State Department and all the formerly saner, wiser heads are saying, “ You people are so negative! Why, give you a gold brick and you’d complain about the weight. Forget you naysayers! Were not going to get bogged down in past resentments. We’re moving on to the glorious future!”

    The thing is, though, it’s not possible for one guy to have that much power. All the other people around have to let him—or they agree with him. The board member who says the city needs to move in to give the foundation “credibility” is one example of this.

    But Chris Christie doesn’t get away with sucking up for a job and then saying, “Ah. That’s just Trump.” People who pander and wrangle things to, they hope, their advantage then shrug and blame the inevitable, faulty outcome on the front man crook spewing gobbledegook are a recognizable type. Weasels. Bad guys from an Ayn Rand novel who see credibility as something that can be conferred by association with the city, the chamber, the senator instead of a worthy trait to be earned. Saying “that damned Jack” is easy but it’s an excuse for checking out and there’s obviously more to the situation than just one guy.

    What seems clear is that the “community center” is not, in fact, what people think of when they use that term. I don’t know if the deception is accidental or deliberate. It may be that some of the foundation people really think, if they just rent this, rent that, make money somehow, they’ll eventually get to the part way down the road and millions of dollars in the future where the community can have a treadmill and a cheap space for family reunions and, of course, that gazillion dollar splash park. (Which is somehow different from the usual suspects’ 30 year family tourism water park fantasy but...)

    Things that don’t bother me include having real estate people on the board. It’s a tested and licensed profession for a reason; to me, having skilled property people around makes sense.

    I appreciate lots of things about community. For example, Hart’s, Sparky’s and the other local businesses that give a lot of local teens their first job. There are a lot of local businesses I appreciate just for being around and having stuff I want. I appreciate seeing people around I’ve known for a long time. I like to see supporters at local athletic events. I get a kick out of those moments when somebody runs me down at the bank, “I waved! Are you mad about something or didn’t you see me?” Seeing people I’ve known since they were age 4 with their own kids. For me, community isn’t about donations—it’s about being part of an interconnected group.

    Which is why I think, yes, we need a community center of some sort. The sort of things 99% of every small town in America takes for granted are always such a huge, ridiculous fight here. It’s always the same fight over community trying to get something that isn’t superseded by tourism: no not there, we need people to park; no not that, it bothers the visitors; no not you, you scare the nice families. This is an argument that’s been going on since long before Jack. Maybe he takes advantage of the problem but he didn’t create it; and fixing it is going to have to be up to the 6,000 or so other people in the Western District who are not Jack.

    Granted, it’s a knotty problem with plenty of bad blood on all sides. So I think one bit at a time. For example...

    As I understand it, the city needs to hold meetings in an ADA compliant space. There were a couple of options proposed. One was to use the city owned property on Norris Street that’s been occupied rent free for more than 20 years. The other was to fix up and rent a space at the “community center.” Everything seemed to be leaning towards the Norris Street property until the occupying doctor decided, well..maybe he wouldn’t move out after all.

    Ok. Am I just a capitalist pig dog Simon Legree landlord? If I found a squatter who’d spent 23 years in my property, I’d have to say, “The end of this term is really not up to you, especially since I need the property now.” If I was just kind of a dimwit who didn’t realize nobody had paid me rent for an entire generation, I’d still have to say, “I am also at fault here. You fixed the plumbing, roof and the HVAC, which is not a bad trade for 23 years of rent. I need you out by December 31 but I hear they’re building offices over at the ‘community center.’ “

    I mean...what? I don’t get this. The solution of the moment just seems to perpetuate all kinds of problems—not to mention the not at all ridiculous accusation that the city doesn’t have much interest in the welfare, or pocketbook, of its citizens.

    Am I missing something here?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Eureka Springs


    I agree Kim. Its not just Jack. However when he has finger in every pie its not easy to ignore the stained hands. I understand your realtor position as well. For me it's not just these individuals jobs it is the history of the investments and track record of their leadership endeavours.
    All in all I believe we are on the same page. This is not a community center. It's a profit plan wanting to ride off the taxpayers investment in the property to line the pockets of a few.
    ​​Money is not community.


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