Hollywood House needs your help

Opinion

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You just don't find places like the Hollywood Community House very often. It's a resident-owned community center that has met both public and private needs throughout its almost 100-year history. It was the neighborhood's first school and its first church and served as a public educational facility (as a kindergarten) into the 1950s.

It continues to function at all because of a small but dedicated group of volunteers who clean the building, cut the grass, organize fundraisers, make care of maintenance and book and monitor the rentals.

Although the officers of the organization are technically elected by the association, whoever steps up to be president becomes president. You want to take on membership? Fundraising? It's yours.

The association and its building are not in any way funded by the village of Brookfield, nor does village government have any say in what the association does or how the building is used (well, beyond the basic code requirements all private organizations must follow).

And no other section of Brookfield has any say over what will happen to the building today or in the future. It belongs to the people who happen to own or rent residences in Hollywood.

And the building's future depends on those people caring enough to become involved in the association and the care of its building, which has a rich history.

While the association is grateful that so many Hollywood residents care enough to fork over their $20 annually to maintain their membership in the association, they sure could use a little help. If nothing else, they could use your opinion on what the future should hold for the community house on Washington Avenue.

The old building costs money to maintain, and rentals and fundraisers make it about break even. But is it enough for the neighborhood to run a rental hall? Is that its ultimate purpose? And who wants to run that kind of business on a perpetual volunteer basis anyway?

The association board in May hopes residents will come to its board meeting to talk about the building's future. The date for that meeting hasn't been set, but we'll let you know when it's going to happen.

In the meantime, Hollywood residents, put on your thinking caps and let the HCA board know what you think. Does the Hollywood Community House have a future as a neighborhood institution or not?

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