Demolishing pool is a terrible idea


Am I the only one who thinks the YWCA demolishing its swimming pool to put in low income housing is not a good thing for downtown and nor should it be painted as such?

Am I the only one who finds that the YWCA’s inability to serve the community with a swimming pool for families and children sad? That replacing it with housing for homeless and near homeless women with children is a frustratingly sad reminder of what this city has become?

Frustrating that the YWCA now has to focus on such a small segment of the population … a small segment that needs free housing at that.

Also frustrating is how this is being painted as some sort of “redevelopment” for downtown Warren. No. It is not even close to redevelopment. This is more of the same low-income, subsidized by others, grant-driven, for the poor, residential living that has strangled the immediate downtown area for decades.The only thing this is going to “jump start” is the further painting of downtown as having poor people living around it who need help and handouts.

Tony Iannucci, director of WRAP, mentioned this in that much quoted Dec 11 Tribune story as something his organization was involved with, along with helping the Sunset Lounge open and expanding living quarters in the Warner House. This is a sad state of affairs, Warren’s Redevelopment arm helping expand housing for the poor. If WRAP and the Office of Community Development haven’t been on auto-pilot for a decade plus, perhaps these projects wouldn’t even be options. Perhaps then a private developer would be interested in buying one of these low-income high rises and replacing it with living for people who can pay their own fair rent. Perhaps then the YWCA might have been able to keep its pool. Or at the very least, put in housing for people who aren’t “at risk” of being homeless or are homeless. Maybe one day we’ll have folks doing a better job of redeveloping downtown Warren.

At that point, we’ll see a true signal that downtown is ready for investment. These apartments are just more of the same, almost typecasting this city as one of the state’s largest non-profits. So sad that people are crowing about this as it really is something we should be embarrassed by.

Josh Nativio