Did y’all already know this?

Well, it’s evidence that I’m behind on my e-mails but I finally thoroughly read minutes from the Neighborhood Resource Team meeting earlier in January. For a relatively contentious issue I’m surprised notice didn’t go out widely—maybe I missed it—but here it is anyway: The City will not approve the homeless facility the Salvation Army had a boner about building at 3030 Darbo. I’m sure City staff didn’t use the word boner but Salvation Army was rather excited about cashing in their hot downtown real estate and royally screwing our neighborhood.

As Salvation Army complains it barely has funds to run its limited programs, it seems appropriate to start discussing alternatives. Maybe they’ve run their course, maybe their hierarchy is convoluted or unnavigable, or maybe their international organization is too archaic and removed to encourage the needed advancement of Darbo/Worthington. I don’t know. Whatever the reasons for underperforming, maybe there’s a different group to take it from here, to shape 3030 Darbo into a high-functioning community center, one that appeals first to the diversity of our neighborhood then beyond its modest boundaries.

I’m far from demonizing Salvation Army. I know their food programs and other services fill a need. What I’m doing instead is asking the question: Who else could do the same or better or offer more? Looking around Dane County you’ll see organizations involved in similar work. Maybe a few could come together under one roof to provide the current services at Darbo, maybe they’d expand services into the evening, maybe they’d have child care, or maybe they’d have weekends chock-full of entertaining and educational and physical activities. Well, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. But, at least I’m talking, and I would love to hear feedback.