Sunday, January 13, 2008

Where Should The Drop Inn Center Be?

This is another one of those posts in which I hope to spark a conversation.

We've heard a lot about the Drop Inn Center the past few weeks. This week marks its thirtieth anniversary in its present location. The Enquirer wrote on it here; the Enquirer's Politics Extra Blog discusses it here; and Dan Hurley covered it on Newsmakers this morning (Channel 12 really needs to start giving him an hour each week, when the Bengals aren't playing.) Drop Inn's history (particularly its midnight move) is very interesting.

Most discussions seem to assume two options: leave Drop Inn where it is, or close it and buld the much-discussed CityLink on the West Side. I'm wondering: is there a third alternative? Might there be a better spot for the Drop Inn Center? What if there were sufficient political will to purchase part of Broadway Commons (perhaps the western-most part, adjacent to the bus terminal) and rebuild the Drop Inn Center there? I suppose if the jail tax had passed, the Queensgate jail could have been converted to a homeless shelter.

There are legitimate concerns about Drop Inn's location. It's in the midst of an area that is being revitalized (or gentrified, according to some). It's near Music Hall (though I think CSO lovers too often scapegoat Drop Inn for declining attendance there--after all, the Center doesn't seem to deter opera-goers in the summer, judging by ticket sales). And it's a stone's throw from SCPA.

So assuming we don't want the homeless living en masse under the Brent Spence Bridge, where should they be?

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