Monday, May 17, 2010

Dear 3CDC: Offer a Better Deal

Below, Griff joins 3CDC in urging the Drop Inn Center to make room for the growing gentry class in Over-the-Rhine. While 3CDC's proposal may be the start of a longer conversation, it does not appear to be a viable solution as it is currently structured.

This Enquirer article has some numbers that should be cause for concern about the suggested "restructuring" of the Drop Inn Center. Presently, DIC is a 250-bed facility. The 3CDC proposal would have space for a total of 170 people: 50 women, 60 men, and some sort of transitional facility (for men) with 60 more beds. (There's also a suggestion for a facility for a facility open only to 18 - 24 year old homeless people that I suspect would be quite small.)

So we'd go from 250 emergency beds available in OTR to just 110. I've previously pointed out that during the winter months, DIC's capacity is already insufficient to meet the demand for emergency shelter.

Griff also makes the same mistake as does the linked Enquirer article: linking DIC to concern about sex offenders. Yes, an SCPA student was murdered last year, and yes, it was tragic. And yes, the perpetrator was a convicted sex offender. But he was not a resident of DIC. In fact, the DIC does not permit registered sex offenders to stay in its facility. Washington Park Elementary was a block away from the DIC for years with no problems. And the W.E.B. Dubois Middle School is just a few blocks away. Why are the "concerns" suddenly acute with the opening of SCPA? Because we like those students better for some reason?

Finally, I'll point out that Griff's concerns about loitering in Washington Park are likely to become moot, as the park is slated to be closed--either partially or altogether--for 18 months beginning this fall, if funding for renovations is finalized.

I'm not among those who claim that the Drop Inn Center has some sort of "right" to remain where it is, and that neighborhood development must necessarily happen around it. But it should not be displaced unless and until a reasonable replacement is available. 3CDC needs to go back to the drawing board.

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