ArtWalk can attest, everywhere you look, there are signs of growth downtown and
nearby." They go on to state: "The gloom-and-doom forecast by those who opposed
the Pearl House construction and relocation of the Recovery Center downtown
haven't come to pass."
Remember who owns the Pearl House, a joint venture by Gorsuch and Lancaster
Fairfield Community Action. The Executive Director for Community Action is
Kellie Ailes, sitting on the editorial board for the Eagle Gazette is Larry
Ailes (Kellie's husband); does the EG see any conflict here?
"We are seeing that revitalization of our downtown can happen."
While downtown has had some great things happening and we should keep a positive
attitude, we are seeing that revitalization of our downtown can happen.
Downtown doesn't have to be all government; buildings can be saved and restored,
private investment is needed... let's not be too complacent! There is still
much that needs to be accomplished: parking solutions, upper floors restored to
use, buildings restored and occupied, facades restored, possibly an "art alley";
we need to keep the ball rolling to assure the necessary development that will
help financially support the businesses there and the new businesses that need
to come. The ArtWalk has been successful for several years, it has attracted
crowds each of those years, but downtown people traffic is needed throughout the
year for businesses to be successful. The Columbian eradicates one of
downtown's crumbling buildings. It is great to see it being restored, but it
does not add any jobs to our downtown (it only moves existing jobs a half block
or a block). Ale House, a great asset, actually restored a building and added
jobs, the new shops in the Kirn Building and along Columbus Street are great
additions, the restoration of the Mithoff... let's keep the positive influences
moving! Be careful of what negative influences can do to redevelopment, such as
a mega jail or the drug recovery center. Ask the downtown businesses about the
people traffic along Columbus Street before forming an opinion. Look at what
has worked and not worked in other communities that redeveloped their downtowns.
On the previous Sunday, the Eagle Gazette's front page story "Pearl House Fills
with Residents" and "Building controversy dies down" stating "Some opponents
were concerned about the effect it would have on downtown." In reality, wasn't
the concern directed toward the effect that the Recovery Center, and their large
client base, would have on the development of downtown?
As to the article on Pearl House, so... in its first 7 months (now full but not
full during this 7 month time frame) there were 34 police calls to Pearl House
(and that is success, just like any other neighborhood?). Where is the
comparison? During this same time frame, how many police calls to Jim Huber's
apartments (corner of Wheeling & Columbus), or the apartments above the
bookstore (corner of W. Main & Columbus, or how about the apartments at Sheridan
The EG stated, "A few said Pearl House would hurt efforts to develop the former
Lancaster Glass property just across the street." Before Pearl House/Recovery
Center combined project was announced, remember the nice rendering published in
the Eagle Gazette of the mixed use (retail stores and housing, "Downtown Gateway
Development) development that Wagenbrenner was planning for the Lancaster Glass
Site? Has it happened? Not only has the Wagenbrenner development not happened,
the Lancaster Glass Site has been put up for sale - it appears that Wagenbrenner
is bailing out of Lancaster. Ask the Eagle Gazette - what about the Lancaster
But Pearl House has been open since Nov. 1, 2014 and The Recovery Center
relocated next door from its former Cedar Hill Road location, remember too that
the Recovery Center (CEO Trisha Saunders Farrar) said they would have a 95%
recovery rate if they moved downtown... has that happened? Where is the Eagle
Gazette on tracking or reporting this? The EG also said, "Neither Farrar nor
Walters would say whether any Pearl House residents have been unsuccessful."
“We can’t discuss that at all,” Farrar said." Why? Those at Amethyst House, the
house that Pearl House was stated to be modeled after, discussed this with
concerned Lancaster citizens when visits were made there.
The EG stated, "There also is an on-site manager on duty during normal business
hours" (or about 23% of the time?) Did the EG mention or follow up on the
security measures that were part of the original plan (1) 24/7 security cameras
in and outside the building, (2) Key fob access and restricted visitor access,
(3) local block watch, (4) additional security enhancements as advised by the
Good Neighbor Committee... ?
Recall EG reported "Fairfield Homes and the Lancaster-Fairfield Community Action
Agency own the $5 million Pearl House" for 21 units, plus there was another
$750,000. up front, which comes out to $273,500. per unit...
What's your opinion?
Reference: (1) Lancaster Eagle Gazette, Sunday 7/26/15, Page 4A Opinion; (2) Lancaster Eagle Gazette, Sunday 7/19/15, Front Page, "Pearl House Fills with Residents"