Dear Eureka City Council, Don’t Put a Day Use Center at Runeberg Hall, Urges Letter Writer
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Embedded Google Map of Runeberg Hall on West Wabash Avenue and Union Street shows the site of a proposed day use center for the homeless.
A resident of an area proposed to house a day use center for the homeless writes an open letter to the Eureka Mayor and City Council,
Dear Mayor and City Council,
While homeless services are clearly needed in our community, the proposed day use center at Runeberg Hall is not an appropriate fit for our neighborhood. Citing such a facility at the proposed location is not unlike planning to build a highly polluting factory in a low income neighborhood that is already mired by hazardous air quality. It’s just not okay.
We need projects that will lift our neighborhood up, not continue to hold it down.
Families in our neighborhood are already on the margin, many of whom struggle to get by paycheck to paycheck, if they’re lucky. The City has clearly proven it’s already unable to help our neighborhood rise. Our sidewalks are so cracked and streets so heavily potholed that my four-year-old son is constantly crashing his scooter whenever we adventure out. I can’t help but notice that the sidewalks and streets in higher income neighborhoods are in much better maintained by the City.
Our streets need, quite literally, speed bumps and speed signs, not facilities that will only increase the transient vagrancy that already plagues us. We need traffic police that will ticket drivers that somehow think it’s okay to accelerate from zero to sixty mph within ten feet of every stop sign. We need cross walks.
The City, sadly, has not been a good neighbor. While many homes on our block took advantage of the Street Tree program and planted trees to help reduce traffic impacts and generally improve the aesthetic of our community, the City has failed to do the same in front of its large public housing complex on Spring Street. The grass in front of the complex is constantly under-maintained, failing to live up to the standard for basic lawn care set by the rest of the neighborhood. In this same regard, the City has also been unable to properly maintain the 20-30 park and playground. The grass is always a mile high, the facility is constantly covered in litter, and the playground equipment is vandalized and left in disrepair. The parks only users are clearly up to no good. It bums out my son to go there, and I assure you the kid has never before met a playground he didn’t like. It’s a sad place, not a joyous one, in desperate need of basic maintenance.
Now, I realize the City is not proposing to run the proposed day use center and will not be responsible for doing so, per se. However, the day use center would impact our neighborhood, and we would need to the City to help regulate and mitigate those impacts. Based on the City’s present inability to overcome fiscal constraints and other limitations to meet the very basic needs our neighborhood, my neighbors and I have absolutely no reason to believe that the City could possibly ensure that the proposed facility wouldn’t be a further determent to our daily lives.
Please do not allow a day use center for the homeless community to be located in our neighborhood. We have enough problems.
2319 Spring Street, Eureka
P.S. Let’s make an appointment to talk about those street trees and speed bumps soon.