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West Sacramento Sun

Perseverance Wins!

Feb 07, 2024 11:39AM ● By Michele Townsend, photos by Michele Townsend

(L to R) Rhonda Pope Flores posing with Mayor Martha Guerrero and Rozzana Verder-Aliga at the Bryte Broderick Community Center. 

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – On Saturday, January 27th, Bryte and Broderick happily celebrated the grand opening of their much needed and long-awaited Community Center. On that day, The Bryte/Broderick Community Center finally opened their doors to the public. The City of West Sacramento has been promising a community center for the northern side of town for many years, some say decades. It has just never seemed to have made the priority list.

The Buena Vista Rancheria Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians once again stepped up to help out the north side of West Sacramento. When the Bryte VFW closed down, longtime resident and advocate of the Broderick/Bryte area, Rhonda Pope-Flores, saw the opportunity to change that priority level. Rhonda is a board member of the Buena Vista Rancheria Tribe and played a big part in the purchase of the building.

Dee Rasilau, Brandy Jones and Tracy Keenan from Yolo Cares offering services at the Bryte Broderick Community Center.

Rhonda and her team have worked tirelessly to restore and renew the historic building, while bringing new life to it. The biggest challenge has not been the lack of people willing to work for it, nor has it been the lack of ideas or programs that could be offered. The biggest challenge was not even the cost. The biggest challenge has been the complete lack of consistency with the city.

Again and again, the city would show up to do an inspection, give them menial changes that needed to be made, only for the next inspector to deny them, due to those changes. Time and time again, they were verbally approved and then the very next day be slapped with a stop-work order. Please understand that all of the changes were submitted in a plan that was approved by the city, prior to the work starting.

Valerie Ferris from Yawaywish Creations.

However, with each and every completion, there was a hold up.  Permits were held, stop-work orders were issued, and more changes were required. The changes that the city was asking for were not major issues, like plumbing, or sewer, or electrical… they were items like the ADA striping needing to be moved three inches, and other similar items. After months and months of this rollercoaster and no relief of it in sight, approval has finally been given to open.

The grand opening was held and Rhonda and Center Manager, Leah Murphy, were quickly reminded just why they have been fighting this ongoing battle. The community came out in droves, offering nothing but support and gratitude. The street was closed off in front of the building for a small street fair that included a low rider club, Hoopers University, CalHope RedLine, Culture & Rafts Healing Center, California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc. (CIMC), Joann Deny’s Native Three Feathers, Three Sisters Crafts & Notions, Belve Designs, Empower Yolo, Yolo Cares, California Consortium for Urban Indian Health and the California Highway Patrol.

The streets were blocked off and monitored by the West Sacramento Police Department while people walked up and down the street gathering resources, looking at the cars and beautiful assortment of Indian jewelry and artifacts. Inside there was just as must activity as outside. There was good food and plenty of VIP’s.

Sylvia Hernandez, Evalina and Sophia Tsusaki from Belve Designs presenting their cups, tumblers and other printed items.

“I appreciate the Mayor coming and Norma Alcala to show their support. I was surprised to see Quirina (Orozco), but I’m glad that she was able to come! Ronald Ramos, son of the man who built that building, was the first speaker.” He shared some history about his father and history of the building.

The Community Center received an unexpected Resolution presented by Dr. Moss, from Senator Bill Dodd’s office, recognizing them for the work that they are doing in the community with the Community Center. Rozzana Verder-Aliga was there and the most important of all… the community.

“It was actually more than what I kind of expected. The outpour of support from the community was really overwhelming and so touching. It kind of made me realize, like wow, this is so needed and so appreciated,” Rhonda said. “I think the most emotional part for me was watching the Boy Scouts raise the flag,” she said.

The Bryte Broderick Community Center will be opened from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every day. Available services include math tutoring, yoga classes, Repair Café and food distribution. They are setting up free CPR classes, have available books and games, billiards, and the hall will be available to rent. Future plans include movie nights, dances, classes and events of all kinds. People are invited to come in and check it out, bring the family.

If you have ideas or would like to offer services, please contact Manager Leah Murphy at 916-491-0011. Or visit the Community Center at 1708 Lisbon Ave., West Sacramento Ca. 95605. “I’m proud”, Rhonda said. “Yes, I’ve been through hell over it, but I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

Rhonda stated, “When you’re doing something that will directly benefit the community, the city should be working with us and not setting us up for failure, and I’m sorry but I truly feel that the city has set us up for failure with the miscommunication within their departments. They need a major reform.”

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