Community Center is a critical facility
November 25, 2021
To The Eagle:
What I learned from the Cathlamet Town Council meeting of Monday, November 15, was that the public officials responsible for maintaining the renovated old Fire Hall building (Library/Community Center) know very little about the Community Center, its history and services to our community.
Several false statements were made by council members who should be more aware of the situation at hand, but the claim that closing the Community Center would not affect access to publicly available computers and internet use, because the library is upstairs, overlooks the hours that the library is available to the public: Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., that’s a total of 15 hours per week, all afternoon hours. The Community Center coordinates its hours of operation to provide service at other times.
Those who have computers at home and ready access to internet service, those would be favored persons. However, the Community Center is a critical service to those who are not so favored.
We have held computer literacy classes in the past, and volunteer hosts assist visitors who have job applications to file, medical reports to access from their providers, and responding to issues raised by those reports.
It is my contention that both the town and county have maintained a poor business model by not budgeting for a regular part-time coordinator and phone service, and not honoring the contribution of many volunteers who are currently maintaining the Community Center’s hours of service. Allowing volunteers to maintain a critical facility like the Community Center involves no significant expense to the county.
According to the November 18 edition (page 6) of The Wahkiakum County Eagle: “The legislation’s $65 billion (Infrastructure Plan) for broadband access would aim to improve internet services for rural areas...” I’m sure the county can prepare for receipt of some of those funds if we can get over our self-deprecating attitude that we don’t deserve a functioning Community Center.
I urge the board of county commissioners to direct Health and Human Services and the town to not contest the effort being put forth by dedicated volunteers to keep the Community Center functioning. Just “cutting bait” is not a solution.