The Ball Park neighborhood has no illusions about who they are, which made for a refreshing change from the naked anger and drama at previous neighborhood meetings on the citing of four homeless resource centers.
Kevin Claunch ended the Ball Park Community Council’s sedate and respectful gathering of about 50 residents with a very different request than Mayor Jackie Biskupski has fielded so far.
Claunch explained with good humor that the neighborhood knew from the beginning of the citing process that it would get one of the shelters. And it also expects it to be the unaccompanied-male resource center, not the more acceptable women-and-children facility over which Sugar House is in a panic.
“We’re used to it,” he said of the gritty urban community surrounding Smith’s Ballpark.
Then he listed the neighborhood’s “vulnerabilities”: prostitution, drug dealing, abandoned houses, “no-tell motels,” a “world-class brothel” and a half-way house for prison parolees and the parole center that goes with it.
“But we don’t have the homeless—that’s new to us,” Claunch said. “I would love the unaccompanied-male shelter—if you take care of some of the vulnerabilities we already have.”
Seems like a fair deal.