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The rotten economy’s latest victim appears to be the Sedona Community Center.

The center closed its pool this summer and eliminated certain activities in an effort to refocus its mission, as written by SCC Board of Directors President Jeff Buresh in his column on Page 2B.

The change didn’t come as a desire or a wish of the board or the center’s staff to mix things up, but as a necessity.

When I moved here five years ago, the center was in the process of becoming the Sedona Community Center rather than the Adult Community Center. The business card in my Rolodex today for SCC Executive Director Susan Barrington is adorned by the old name and logo.

In 2006, Sedona’s economy boomed as housing prices crept up and up, the center’s membership swelled with both senior and younger members, and donations came much more easily through the door.

At that time, the center expanded its mission, adopting a new name and attempting to reestablish itself in the community.

While meal programs for the elderly remained the center’s main focus, the time, money and people surfaced to take operations to the next level.

The pool attracted more visitors and programs expanded allowing the center to begin to embody the true essence of a community center.

A much different light shines on the changes and decisions board members and staff find themselves forced to make today.

Expanding operations is exciting and popular. Downsizing is scary and hard.

The mission of the center when it went by the Adult Community Center and today is to prevent elder hunger. Everything else it offered, while still fitting in with the goals of the center, was extra.

Today, the center, like many of the rest of us, can’t afford extras, and the demand and expense of its primary objective increases as the economy worsens.

More seniors than ever before cannot afford to feed themselves, leaving only SCC to answer their pleas for help.

Fewer people can afford to give their time for free making volunteers to assist with vital programs harder to come by.

Most damaging is the lack of funding available to provide services. Donations are fewer and smaller.

The bottom line is, the center, like the rest of us, has to choose what it can afford and what it can’t, and not live outside its means.

We’ve all cut indulgences from our lives in the last few years, and the center is simply suffering on a larger, more noticeable scale. It can’t afford to do anything more on its own.

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  • Tom Palmer

    Perhaps some cuts may have been avoided, foreseen or minimized if President Buresh moved beyond his multi-decade old Rolodex.

  • Marilyn Fravel

    In the world of non-profit organizations, now (as always) members are the basic foundation for a sound fund development program, the base of the pyramid, if you will. This is especially true in tough economic times. I hope eliminating "members" and replacing with "sponsors" allows local residents to still support the Center, if even in only a small, annual way. Best wishes.....

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