Sunday, May 10, 2009

CityWalk: Choices about Community Rooms, Part II

Picking up from yesterday, here’s the list of the uses for our last five community spaces:

Floor 10 – Television Room – Not much more to say. Our biggest question was whether we should have had three, rather than two, television rooms.

Floor 11 – Concierge Office –This will be an office shared by the two tenant services representatives (or concierges) we have working for us in the building. This is an idea we also got from Common Ground during our trip to New York. These people won’t be professional case managers and they won’t be property managers. Their role will be more like cruise directors on a cruise ship—organizing events, making sure people are having a good time, and keeping their eye on what’s going on in the building. We think this role is going to be crucial in making CityWalk a good place to live. People are likely to talk more freely to people whose job is only to befriend the tenants and make CityWalk a better place to live. The tenant services representatives will give us an additional means of knowing what’s going on at CityWalk.

Floor 12 – Meeting Room – This will simply be a place for groups to meet. Groups of all kinds—many of which we don’t know yet. We expect bible studies, recovery and twelve-step groups, hobby groups of all kinds—depending on the interest of the residents we may have clubs of just about any kind. One of the roles of the tenant services representatives will be to help organize and promote the types of meetings and activities the residents want.

Floor 13 – Library – This was, surprisingly to me, the most popular selection in the poll of people on our call back. We’ll have shelves, books, a table, and a couple of comfortable chairs to sit and read. We may have a book drive to fill the shelves—unless I decide just to do it myself out of the excess of my personal library! Quiet rules will be in effect—turn your cell phone off, no loud talking.

Floor 14 – Chapel/Meditation Room – A quiet place to sit and worship or think. We will have to spend some time working on the physical arrangement of the room. “Chapel” probably suggests a little too formal a place for what we want (it brings to mind wooden pews and an altar). I think we’ll go for something less formal and more flexible, but we want to preserve the feeling of sanctuary you find in a chapel.

That’s what we’ve decided and, unless someone writes in with a better idea, that’s what we’ll do. Most of these uses won’t take a lot of finish out, but only furnishing the rooms differently, so if we find one room under used, or another type of use in demand, we should be able to be flexible.

Finally, a couple of words on what we aren’t doing and why we aren’t doing it. First, there won’t be a fitness room. One of the great things about a downtown location is that we are surrounded by services and the downtown YMCA is directly across the street from us. Since the YMCA is working with us to provide discounted memberships to its great facilities, it would be a little silly to build our own fitness center. Some of the best facilities in the city will be available to our tenants.

Second, we aren’t devoting a space specifically to education and tutoring. We had to make choices and our feeling right now is that the meeting room, and probably some of the other rooms as well, could be used for this purpose, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the need. If we need to reprogram, then we can. The other specific request we didn’t directly satisfy was for a “Quiet” room. I hope between the Library and Chapel that that need will be filled. But again, if not, we will stay flexible.

One thing we tell ourselves again and again is not to prejudge what’s needed. Central Dallas Ministries’ guiding principle has always been that people know what they need. It’s our guiding rule as well. If we listen and learn, the residents at CityWalk will tell us what they need.

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