There have been a large number of stories published by the Journal News in the past couple weeks that I feel have not correctly covered the topic at hand. We are having ongoing discussions with the Journal on these issues and both the city and the Journal News hope to smooth out the process and miscommunication soon.
While that process works itself out, I’d like to provide more information on several past stories….
On the Dog Park at Sunset Park:
Back at the end of last year, the Middletown Young Professionals group went to Park Board and then presented to City Council a concept to add a Dog Park for city residents. They gave a preliminary outline of their concept, stated that they believed they could raise money for such a project, gave a brief discussion about the type of area needed for such a park (“an area like Sunset Park or the old Roosevelt school site with its enclosed fencing”), and asked Council if they had enough interest in the project that the Young Professionals should go ahead and fully develop the concept for future council presentation and later consideration. Council said yes, go ahead and show us what that concept might look like when you are ready. The Journal article made the project appear to be further along and that the site was already under consideration. We got inundated with requests for how such a park would work, what about the poo smells, how would we keep dogs quiet and not have fighting, and several Sunset neighbors stating they didn’t want the park there.
I couldn’t answer any of those questions because the city hasn’t decided it even wants a dog park and no one on staff is working on those questions. We are waiting for the Young Professionals to finish their ideas and at some future point, we may get to a further discussion on whether a dog park works here, how it would operate, and where it might be appropriate to place such a thing. Right now it is an undeveloped concept.
Tytus Avenue Fire Station.
We were approached during the heroin summits by a nonprofit who said that part of the answer in getting addicts clean was to supply wrap around services in sobriety, jobs, family reunification, etc., after rehab. They stated that the closed Fire House on Tytus already had sleeping facilities, kitchen and showers that might work for such an in-house half way step towards rejoining society again. They also stated that there might be grant funds to renovate the fire house. Based on that information, I asked City Council if they were comfortable enough with the concept for me to have an architect out to determine if the facility could be effectively converted to the proposed use and to determine if the grant funds were really available and would cover the cost of renovation. If the answer to either question is no, then the project will never be possible and the idea, at least at that location, is dead in the water without further discussion. Council said take it that far, and we are in that process now. I do not have the answers to those questions yet.
IF both of those are realistic, then we would have to discuss rezoning the property for that purpose. Letters to affected property owners would be sent, the matter would come up for a public review and we would then need to discuss how such a facility would operate, policies and procedures, how many people would stay there, 24/7 staffing by the nonprofit, and the impact that other similar facilities have had on the neighborhood, etc., and THEN, after a public discussion, we could make an informed decision as to whether this is a good idea for us at this time. We haven’t completed step one above, so the Journal article has unnecessarily alarmed residents for something that may not be possible.
It’s the weekend, and I’m going to go watch my beloved Cincinnati Bearcats play ball on tv. I’ll write more later.