Campus & Community / News

Neighborhood group WUCA gives last gasp at age 35

The West University Community Association­ (WUCA) — which has represented residents west of DU since 1976 — has decided to disband.

A general meeting to elect officers Wednesday failed to field the 12 people the city requires by Jan. 31 of each year so the group is recognized as a bona fide neighborhood organization.

“It looks like a lost cause,” said reluctant board member Frances Bahl.

“It’s sad to see it go down,” added WUCA treasurer Velma Boe prior to the dissolution vote.

Membership rolls in WUCA total about 75, Boe said, but these are people who pay annual dues to receive the monthly Focus newsletter. They don’t show up at meetings or run for the board, which is the problem. WUCA represents property owners in an area from University Boulevard west to Broadway and south of Interstate 25 to the city limits.

The decision to disband leaves four other viable neighborhood organizations to serve the area around the University: University Neighbors, Platt Park People’s Association, Rosedale-Harvard Gulch Neighborhood Association and University Park Community Council.

“Other neighborhood associations are struggling, too,” says longtime WUCA member and former president Katie Fisher. “It’s not something we did.”

The issue of declining membership came up at WUCA’s meeting in December, when the board decided to give residents one last chance — the January 2011 meeting — to rally and keep the group in existence.

“Since 1976, we’ve always had at least 13 people walk into the room,” Fisher said. But not Wednesday. WUCA got eight, plus a hired secretary and a representative of Councilman Chris Nevitt’s office.

Unlike other neighborhood groups that often struggle financially, money was not an issue with WUCA. So among Wednesday’s final decisions was how to disburse remaining funds. Board members voted to contribute to the Evanston United Methodist Church, where the group has met for decades; the Dollar Dictionary program, which distributes dictionaries to Denver-area school kids; Grant Middle School; and Asbury and McKinley-Thatcher elementary schools. The remainder will go to pay bills and issue the group’s final newsletter.

“I loved getting all the wires from the city and getting involved in the neighborhood,” said outgoing co-president Rick Schutz. “I’m going to miss that.”        

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