In the meeting about the city’s budget what should and shouldn’t be funded comes up and one of the subjects that arise is community centers. Bob Mendes, Councilmember At-Large, twenty minutes into the meeting says that “Bethlehem Center’s funding should be redirected to something more useful to the community”. What this councilman seems to forget is the pivotal role this community center serves in the community. For starters is directly across the street from a recently rebuilt housing project community that houses low-income families. These families use this center as a safe haven for the children in the community. Not only does Bethlehem Center offer free after school care for those working parents that otherwise would not be able to pay for it, but it also offers a free summer program. This program allows children to stay out of trouble and occupied in a safe, clean, educational funding. Why would the city council vote to end funding on something so vital to its community? The funding to build things such as Jamba Juice and other upscale places that people currently in that community can not afford to patronize. Will you offer employment to those people in that neighborhood on these places being funded over the community center? I seriously doubt it. This is almost a form of retail gentrification. Community centers like Bethlehem Center do not need their funding cut. In a time like this, they need more funding not less. Tennessee as a whole has an unhealthy state of politics. In Nashville especially where gentrification runs rampant and we are essentially seeing the destruction of the urban community and middle class. All of the advantages seem to be geared toward the well-off and the richer getting richer at the expense of the urban lower-income communities. If funding for Bethlehem center is taken away with this vote it will affect so many families in the inner city. Jo Johnson housing project area, Jefferson Street area and the Andrew Jackson housing project communities just to name a few. The only other community center in their area that is funded by the United Way would not be able to handle all of the families needing services flooding over from the closing of Bethlehem Center. Saving Bethlehem Center helps so many families and neighborhoods. If not for Bethlehem Center I would not have had a safe place to go. Yes, Bethlehem Center also saved me.