City Link- Long Time Coming

By Josh Spring

City Link has been a long time coming, but after 9 years it just had its opening. Some of you remember the anti-City Link signs, the anger and organizing against it. You may remember the lawsuit and the fight over zoning. The litigation went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court- which found that City Link could develop where it was proposed in the West End. Some may remember the political attempts to create zoning that would prevent something like City Link from developing again- many of us spent many summer evenings in 2008 arguing and working over zoning- some of us attempting to make it equitable for social services, others attempting to practically outlaw social services all together.

Eventually some of the negative changes made it forward, proposing for example that a social service could not develop within 1000 feet of a school or 1000 feet of a park or 1000 feet of each other- so virtually nowhere. They also tried to change the definition of religious assembly to say that faith groups could only gather to sing and preach, but not to serve others. We fought back with others, the Coalition sued and those ill-proposed laws have never legally gone into effect- though there have been some behind the scenes attempts to put them into effect.

Those involved in City Link pushed through the legal and political battles. They have worked to bring more existing groups into the plan than were in it to begin with. They have worked hard to find the structure they believe will best serve people. It seems that City Links focus will be on prevention- attempting to join with people before they are forced over the edge into homelessness. This will include a focus on community, access to education for employment, and other basic services to lower barriers.

City Link also seems to have some focus on providing stereotype-killing education through community. City Link, like everything else, is still a work in progress. We should get involved where we can to see it be all it can be. Despite ups, downs, differences of opinions on tactics, structure and a long struggle- City Link will be a testament to people sticking to a goal- trying to put into action what they believe in.