Posts Tagged ‘Newark East Main Low Barrier Shelter’

The Headline Says It All

March 14, 2021

            The Newark Advocate headlined “Four North 21st Street homes to be demolished for Sheetz gas station, store, restaurant” (Kent Mallett, 3-12-21). The story included the requisite song and dance of the company’s history, as well as the rigorous planning and zoning process activated with the, er, development. “The zoning certificate for the project will be granted when five conditions are met, [Newark City Engineer Brian] Morehead said.” There were photos of the houses to be leveled, interview with previous owner, etc. Besides, who hasn’t seen the Sheetz Truckstops when traveling on the interstate? A name you’ve grown to trust! Everything appears to be above board and legit, serving the beneficial interests of the community. Not. Four less homes to house the community. Earlier there was the overture to demolish another house at the corner of 21stand Church for the sake of another gas station/convenience store. When it comes to demolition the county land bank and Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation can’t find enough, always in the name of development and growth. When it comes to finding homes for those without housing these city leaders are nowhere to be found (backing out of their commitment for a low barrier shelter on East Main Street). When it comes to developing housing, actually building affordable in town residences, the matter is poo-pooed for the razzle dazzle of River Rd. expansion, etc. Four less affordable homes is four less places to shelter in town Newark. The real “development” would be replacing these units with 4 new ones. A lack of housing is a lack of housing, and is a major contributor to the growing number of citizens without a house to call home. This is not complicated cause/effect reasoning. In the 80’s, New York City commercial investors bought up the in town residential properties for demolition and commercial “development.” This resulted in the overnight burgeoning of people on the streets without a house to call home. Remove the existing housing stock without replacement creates scarcity. Scarcity may be good for capitalism but it is bad if you need a roof over your head. No matter, Newark City government leaders are all patting themselves on the back for dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s in their quest to accommodate commercial “development.” But is commercial interest the public interest? Is the demolition of housing stock with no replacement in the interest of the public good? 

Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor

January 8, 2021

            Decades ago in Australia’s capital of Canberra (or thereabouts) there was a native people’s demonstration aimed at renaming the central plaza with its aboriginal name. By the most guileful of means, the existing “colonial” signs were replaced with ones bearing the “pre-colonial” name of the place. Something analogous ought to happen in Newark Ohio. In the midst of all the media outrage posted regarding the events in our nation’s capital (as Gomer would say; “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.”) Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined: East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter (1-8-21). “The Evans Foundation, working with Newark Development Partners and the now-defunct Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, purchased the building in late 2019 and leased it to the city of Newark as a location for a low-barrier shelter serving the area’s growing homeless population.” The buried lead here is “growing homeless population”, not “building.” Mallett further expounds, later in the report: “The state’s annual count of homeless later this month will provide more data, but Tegtmeyer [Deb Tegtmeyer, director of the Licking County Coalition for Housing] said the problem seems to have gotten worse. “The feeling is that it has increased, primarily for single adults, Tegtmeyer said. “The waiting list for families is short, because funds are available for them. Single adults are kind of a bigger challenge. With the moratorium on evictions (extended to the end of the month), we’re trying to get a handle on what might be coming.”” Factually, the coldest part of winter is coming. But Analysis digresses. Leading civic leaders of Denial involved with the purchase/lease back in 2019 were also interviewed by Mallett. “Sarah Wallace, chairwoman of the Evans Foundation, said the time had come to do something with the building at 200 East Main St. “I worry because it’s been vacant all this time and no concrete plans have been made,” Wallace said. “We just can’t let it sit there vacant. It’s not good for anybody. The longer a building sits vacant, the worse it is. “I’m excited to get it into use for the community. The St. Vincent de Paul Center is busting at the seams and they are in the business of serving the homeless.”” Indeed! Analysis would have preferred hearing something more like “I worry because people have been without shelter all this time and no concrete plans have been made, We just can’t let them be homeless. It’s not good for anybody. The longer people are without shelter, the worse it is.” But then again, with Denial’s downtown redevelopment and all, it is Capital first (and capitalized!), people much later. Analysis digresses again! “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said converting the building into a shelter failed because of a lack of funding. “It’s still premature to say how we’ll go forward,” DeLawder said. “We need a sustainable funding source to operate a shelter, and we haven’t found a solution to that. We haven’t seen anybody raise their hands and say we can help on a regular basis. We’re really stymied.”” That’s showin’ ‘em leadership, Dan. Throw in the towel after receiving the first punch on the nose. Funny the NDP hasn’t quit with its Arcade project, purchased in Denial the same year as the Family Dollar building. Further digression, mutter, mutter. And finally, the mayor of Denial, formerly a chief proponent of shelters as long as they aren’t located within the city limits, let alone in the heart of Denial (where his office resides); “The mayor applauded the effort of the Evans Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul, and said the effort to help those suffering with homelessness continues. “I fully support the reuse of that building,” Hall said. “St. Vincent de Paul does a wonderful job in the community helping those less fortunate and getting needed supplies for those in the area. “They acquired (the building) in case it worked out to be a homeless shelter. The building doesn’t make or break a plan. It’s complex and challenging in a lot of areas. It’s not an easy fix and not reliant on one building.”” One less lease to clean up after. One less egg to fry. Welcome to Denial Ohio, Jeff Hall Mayor.