Letters to the Editor: Reconsider location of Urban Rest Stop

Dear Editor

I am writing in response to your front page article in the December 14,2012 edition of the Ballard News-Tribune

The concept of the Urban Rest Stop makes a great deal of sense to me. As a resident of NW 57 Street in Ballard, while I support the concept, the location does not make sense to me. The article barely mentions the concerns of the residents. The concern that is mentioned, that of insufficient space, is brushed away by an assertion that this is not an issue at the other two locations. This gets me to my point that Ballard is very different from the other locations.

The Urban Rest Stop:

1) It is very close to the Public Library which is full of children of all ages.

2) It is a half block away from the children's park at Ballard Commons. Mothers push strollers down the residential sidewalk, which is half as wide as the downtown sidewalks . Despite assurances to the contrary, we are sure, at times, the sidewalks will be congested with people waiting for appointments or waiting for their friends using the rest stop or who hang out in the area.

3) Many elderly, who live in this same building or live in other senior housing further down on 57th Street, some of whom use walkers, will be intimidated working there way through the groups on the sidewalk as they go for their shopping at the drug store or the market down the street.

4) Compass House, one block over on NW 56th Street has 80 apartments for the formerly homeless and rehab facilities on the first two floors. I will be staffed 24/7 and provide many services.

5) In addition, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, on the corner of NW 57 Street and 22nd Avenue NW, provides a SHARE shelter and the Neighborhood Ballard Homeless Medical Clinic.

Within a two block area, the Ballard community, which is primarily residential with many young families, already supports a number of facilities to provide for the needs of the homeless and disadvantaged. Any time of the day, the library is a gathering place, both inside and our for the homeless, as is the park diagonally across the street. At night the street holds many cars and vans where the homeless reside.

The Ballard Food Bank on Leary Way, south of Market Street, which is on a bus line, is in a commercial area. It would be a much more natural location for the Urban Rest Stop, rather than concentrating even more services for the homeless in an already accommodating residential neighborhood.

In the five years we have lived here, we have found Ballardites to be very tolerant of and concerned about our homeless population. Forcing an Urban Rest Stop on such a busy residential community will create nothing but ill will and resentment. We would advocate that the Urban Rest Stop be placed in a more commercial area where the impact would not be so great.

Sincerely,

Brian and Liz Cunningham

To the editor:

In response to Elizabeth Wang's article on Dec. 14, I would say that the Urban rest stop is a great idea for Ballard, but is the proposed location across from the water park and library the best fit for everyone in the community?

Claire Strong

To the Editor,

I appreciate the need for the facility, and I fully support the Urban Rest Stop project. Yet, there must be a more appropriate location for this service. The proposed site is crowded already with kids and strollers and impossible parking. What about a spot closer to Leary that is more commercial, more parking, more space. I would hate to see all this time and money being invested into a great cause that would only lead to tension in the community. I would urge the leaders of this project to seek a more appropriate spot for the Rest Stop.

Thank you for your time,
Nicole C.

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