The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Opinion

February 28, 2012

February 25, 2012 Letters to the Editor: Bradley Strong

Falling to wrecking ball

In a relatively few short weeks the last standing edifice of my local education will be confronting the wrecking ball. It calls to my memory trips to Europe where you still can visit Shakespeare’s childhood home and see buildings, built in the Middle Ages and before that, still are in active daily use. Interesting to consider.

Anyway, it has been brought to my attention that Ashtabula County has a large and growing homeless sector, with people sleeping in cars, abandoned buildings, under bridges, in the parks, etc.

Lately on my near daily trip to the Ashtabula Post Office I have taken to wondering why Ball Gymnasium couldn’t be saved and used as a center for providing relief for the homeless and others who need a shelter, nutrition site and a walk-in health clinic. I realize very well that the gym was built in the mid-’50s, I was among the first students to use the new classrooms and facilities. However, it has been in daily use to this date, presumably well-maintained, has bathing facilities and restrooms and has a great deal of usable area for several vital activities, plus it is centrally located within easy walking distance of many of its probable users. On the second floor front there are several offices which have been used by the schools administration, and at the rear there are several classrooms that could be converted to meeting areas for various community organizations.

I easily can visualize using the gymnasium proper for a nutrition site and with cots as a sleeping area, the front foyer area or a level of rooms at the rear as a walk-in clinic for people on Medicaid or other health programs to receive non-emergency health services from nurse practitioners, physician assistants, with physician guidance as needed. This would relieve a major burden from the ACMC ER.

It would seem to me that the merits of such repurposing would warrant reasonable consideration at least by the school board as well as city and county officials. It might save some money and provide some much needed services.

Bradley Strong

Ashtabula

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