Thursday, October 02, 2008

A former Highland's resident addresses Louisville's leadership

Dear Mayor Abramson, Councilman Tandy, Councilman Owen, and Mr. Fischer;

I just wanted to take a moment to voice my support for the acquisition of the former Mercy Academy campus by Wayside Christian Mission. Unfortunately, I no longer live in the Highlands (although I did live there throughout my adolescence) so I can't express my support through my signature on a petition. However, as a member of the Catholic community, and the father of a prospective Mercy student I felt compelled to express my support in some way.

According to Mercy's own website, "Over a century ago, Catherine McAuley began the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland to meet the needs of the uneducated, the poor and the sick, especially women and children." I can think of no better legacy of the Sisters of Mercy than for their former home to become the new home to Wayside Christian Mission, an organization that shows such compassion, support, and dare I say mercy to the most marginalized members of our community. Furthermore, the fact that they intend to use the old Mercy Academy campus to house and minister to homeless women and children is especially befitting the Sisters of Mercy legacy.

I was disappointed find that you gentlemen oppose this move. I'm especially disappointed that Councilman Owen opposes it. I have always considered him to be representative of the Highlands' spirit as well as its elected representative. Whether it was eschewing an automobile by riding the Eastern Parkway bus to UofL and riding his bike downtown, or speaking passionately and intelligently about Louisville's historic waterfront long before the Waterfront Development project was a reality he has always seemed to me to demonstrate that intellectual and somewhat eclectic character that epitomizes the Highlands. I have always thought of him as someone who was more concerned with people and historic legacies than property values and misperceptions of increased crime based on fear and ignorance.

I understand that you all may feel you are representing the position of your constituents on this issue. However, there comes a time when elected representatives must choose to lead their constituents rather than merely echo their voices. It is time to use your bully pulpit to give voice to the voiceless and find a way to make this move agreeable to all concerned.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mercy Works Well for Families and Women

We are active in our search for a new home for our child care center and our family and women’s facility. The Mission has been through struggles in recent months as we have tried to make the best decision on a location. We continue to look very closely at the old Mercy Campus on East Broadway. We like this location which previously served about 350 students. The property also housed a convent and infirmary for the Sisters of Mercy Religious Order. The campus has two kitchens and dining areas, a number of class rooms, lodging rooms, community gathering areas, a stage and auditorium, and a recently built gymnasium. In addition the campus offers many features that would fit well for our families and women. It offers a courtyard between three building wings, allowing for an enclosed campus. It also offers a general lobby and parking in the rear of the building that is blocked by an eight foot brick fence on the south side of the alley. The price is within our budget and renovations and modifications would be minimal.

We are in discussions with some residents of the adjoining neighborhood. We have been met with a good deal of resistance but also have a good deal of support coming from many of the residents. Our leadership will continue to communicate with the residents and try to adjust our programming to meet their concerns. Please keep this process in your prayers.