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Idea to use site as inmate reporting center rebuked by mayor, crowd

May 16, 2013

The saga of a former Catholic church, eyed as a possible site for an inmate day reporting center, has erupted into a fervor with the faithful and city leadership upset of any hint that the......

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(34)

Appauled

May-20-13 10:18 AM

Probably the thing that irks me the most is that no one bothers to ask the human people who actually live in the block where the former church is what they think nor do the brainiacs consider how their ideas might effect our daily lives...it's called respect, courtesy, morals, consideration....think about it before you put it out there and how would you like it in your neighborhood? I doubt city council members are ever in this area and if they are, not for long....enough said for now.

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Appauled

May-20-13 10:15 AM

I'm beyond hearing this neighborhood labeled as being that. Williamsport needs to stop handing out "freebies." I pay taxes, I don't sponge off the system, but I also don't have to tolerate the profanity, drug trafficing and prostitution and other crimes that occur 24/7. It's not about who thought of what, it's not about who to blame for it becoming this way. It's about pride and respect, not greed and money. Clearly there is a significant need in many areas to help those less fortunate, but positive improvement needs to be put into place. If as much time was spent moneywise and other into complaining about the problems already in place ...the amount of energy could be put to better use improving the area(s), making it a more positive environment, give those who need to make changes in their lives a purpose to be here instead of handing them a 30-day pass to roam the streets and continue down the wrong path.

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Appauled

May-20-13 10:09 AM

I could rant on here for hours about this church, iy's location, etc. I can't at the moment. I live in this area; the articles I have read, the gatherings I have seen to debate the use of the building...it's agonizing to say the least. Kudos to the Police Dept. yes, they know the area well and it's NOT PRETTY and it's challenging and difficult to live here. The crime is endless. Stop blaming the former mayor for what already exists. City Council, in my opinion doesn't care, they don't live here 24/7 and their lives are rosey and peaseful. I have my own thoughts and suggestions about the building's use and I have expressed them to the Catholic Diocese of Scranton. I intend to continue to be involved and to put my two cents into this. It's way past time that people in Williamsport stop allowing Billtown to be a dumping pot for crime and undesirables. Real human people live on Park Avenue and we have lived with the thought that "oh, that end of town."

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wwhickok

May-17-13 6:15 AM

The biggest problem with our city council is that they're all dinosaurs, they have no idea what's best for the people today, it seems all about making this place a tourist attraction rather than making it safe for the families and citizens alike that live here.

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wwhickok

May-17-13 6:14 AM

@Jobeeb

What current comeback are we talking about here? Yep, I see all the tourist attractions being built.. but beyond that, have you watched the news lately or are you just choosing to ignore the reality of the rapidly growing shooting rate? The crime in this city is spiraling out of control and most of it can be tied to drugs. This, crime wise, is the worst I've ever seen this city. It'll never be like it was in the 80's when I was a toddler again. At least not until we have a better, smarter, less greedy City Council.

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wwhickok

May-17-13 6:12 AM

You don't owe Jesse Bloom an apology. She supported it just as strongly as the City Council.

@USMC, I know what you were saying and I wasn't disagreeing with you, just sharing my point of view on it. But I agree, in a perfect world, the best thing to happen would be for someone else to purchase it and use it as a Church.

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streetmachine

May-16-13 10:33 PM

i also was blaming jessie bloom for the problem that aroused in this city many years ago but now i relized it was the council also rember the mayor can not do nothing with out there aproval so jessie bloom i owe you an apology for blaming it all on you but your still part of the blame

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GysgtUSMC

May-16-13 3:54 PM

Wwhickok.. I understand that its just a building and that it's the people that make the congregation. I was merely stating that the fact that closing the church to begin with was a heart breaking blow to many faithful parishioners. Its no different than when a church burns down and the pain and anguish that causes. There are plenty of other empty buildings in this city that can be researched. In fact there is a large empty grocery store across the street. I personally would love to see another denomination purchase the property and leave it as a place of worship.

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enoughalready

May-16-13 3:19 PM

Jobeeb, you do know where this property is located correct? It is neither downtown or in a thriving neighborhood.

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jobeeb

May-16-13 1:59 PM

Having enjoyed the thriving downtown as a child in the 70’s, and witnessed the destruction of it in the last 20 years, I’m so proud its current comeback. So many people benefit from a revitalized downtown, please continue supporting ours and say no to the day reporting center. Side note: I’m not a church go’er but a supporter of the community!

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jobeeb

May-16-13 1:58 PM

As a citizen of the city and supporter of the positive renovations occurring in the downtown area I’m shocked to think that the county commissioners would consider opening a day reporting center in the heart of the downtown revitalization and surrounding developing areas. Our city has seen positive improvement in recent years with the help of local officials, and businesses willing to invest; but the ball is just getting started. Already we have a movie theater, The Community Arts, an array of restaurants, specialty stores, book store, art gallery and a department store. These places have given people reasons to enjoy our historic downtown and see the endless opportunities that still exist. Careful planning by the city and private business must be encouraged to promote a healthy, sustainable environment for the area and the people. I’m hopeful community members, as well as people who come “to town” to enjoy all that it offers, see the pitfalls in such a center.

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wwhickok

May-16-13 1:33 PM

Or people would admit that it takes strong, compassionate people to use a church to try to change the lives of people who have followed the wrong path. Listen, USMC, I completely understand what you're saying and I can appreciate that. But at the end of the day the Church isn't what harnesses your faith, it's a building, made with brings, where people USED TO GO to "express"/worship their faith. Faith isn't something that is going to be killed off by the changing of a buildings' use. Frankly it's not materialistic at all. The religious part of this, I feel, despite it being a church(being religious in form) is being given too much priority.

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GysgtUSMC

May-16-13 12:28 PM

What some people aren't taking into consideration is the feelings of the generations of families that worshiped at this church. As a former member who served mass for 12 years growing up, I believe that most of the bitterness is directed at the Bishop in Scranton. To close the church doors to many longtime faithful parishioners only to possibly open them for something like this is a slap in the face. Monsignor Castellano would be rolling over in his grave.

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enoughalready

May-16-13 11:41 AM

So if the county wanted to use the empty church on the otherside of the old BiLo building Gabe would be fine with it? Oh wait, I get it!!! There would be free parking at the church location, thus keeping money out of the WPA coffers. How come Gabe didn't complain when a closed church was converted to apartments?

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wwhickok

May-16-13 11:37 AM

Shirly, I can mostly agree with your comments. I agree this is not the area to have a center like this, outside of the city I certainly would support it, though my toes are at the line of supporting it as it is right now. But I agree with what you're saying about not bringing more criminals to the area, it's opening up a can of worms.

However, I also don't see much else being done to improve the crime situation here in Williamsport.

My issue with the whole 'church' thing is that it overwhelmingly sounds as though the basis for how Campana feels about it is the fact that it's his childhood church, nothing more. I would hope that is inaccurate.

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Shirly

May-16-13 11:24 AM

I find myself somewhat befuddled to be agreeing with young Gabe but this conversion idea for church is pitiful. I also think we need to consider what the Police Chief said. Not a good idea to put something like this in THIS area.

Finally, I must say Jessie Bloom is going to have a huge karmic debt for the degradation she inflicted on Wmspt. However, it's here now and we have to find a way to deal with it. Setting up yet ANOTHER place for criminals is NOT that way, IMHO, of course.

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wwhickok

May-16-13 10:50 AM

And for the record, I've said this multiple times in the past, I'd RATHER DEPORT all the criminals, violent and non-violent who came from other places (Philadelphia for example) back to where they came from. The problem is, there is no perfect solution.

In one hand you could suggest that not allowing something like this in the city is a way of not repeating Jesse Blooms mistakes, okay, that's fair. But what's the alternative? Doing nothing? C'mon now...you've got to be smarter than that.

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Galumph

May-16-13 10:44 AM

If the county RENTS the building, doesn't it go back on the tax roles?

FIX THE ROADS!

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wwhickok

May-16-13 10:26 AM

"first of all hic**** dont u work for the state and are paid by the taxpayer for putting in a 3 hour day and getting paid for 8??"

I wanted to go back to this for a second.

First of all, NO I DO NOT work for the State. Secondly NO I AM NOT paid via the taxpayer. Secondly, I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I used to work in a factory (Shop vac), so I'm fortunate to have a slightly easier job these days, but I'm still working for what little of a paycheck I get. So the notion that I don't carry the burden of paying for Williamsport Taxes is ridiculous and offensive. Next time, perhaps you should ask me why I feel the way I do, instead of assuming you already know.

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wwhickok

May-16-13 10:22 AM

personal ties to the church, as well as the crowd that also opposed the idea.

We weren't born yesterday Mr. Mayor, stop treating us like we were. Politicians work based on agenda's, more often than not, personal agenda's. They lie and some of them even cheat and steal. So skepticism is the first thing you're going to encounter. You're not "Just a citizen, father, and husband", you're also someone who is supposed to be in a position of power, so you're supposed to use that power responsibily. The sooner you start doing so, the better off this city will be. From a Tourist perspective you're doing a great job. From a citizen perspective, you haven't done much at all.

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wwhickok

May-16-13 10:19 AM

Foxy, you're right about Jesse Bloom, I've brought that up before, however, yes Campana can do something about it now. For starters, they can close the Rehab Centers and ship them all the h3ll back where they came from.

This morning I spoke to the Mayor about this whole issue, first of all, as usual, he doesn't handle criticism very well. Secondly, I'm glad to know he reads the comments we post here ;)

It really does all start with putting a stop to the influx of these kind to begin with. If the government is willing to bring them here, they can't turn their back on them when they have an opportunity to potentially change things for the better.

Oh and the Mayor is right, he does have 1st amendment rights too so he is allowed to oppose this, but based on the article, he's doing it for the wrong reasons. If the issue was as simple as 'if the church were located outside of the city I'd support it' I'd be less critical, but it's not. This is an issue of the Mayor having

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wwhickok

May-16-13 10:14 AM

Mim, what the h3ll are you talking about I work 3 hours a day? I work a full time job and support a wife and son thank you very much. While I agree with you on the whole Section 8 thing, this, for me, is about the fact that the opposition to this idea is based seemingly solely on the fact it's a church.

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Foxy70

May-16-13 10:08 AM

Put the blame where it belongs, Jessie Bloom is responsible for the present condition of Williamsport. I remember when she fought long and hard to make the city a "rehab center", and this influx of released ex-offenders and in some cases, their families is the end result of her efforts. Can you say "20-20 hindsight"? Is Campana or anyone able to do anything about it now?

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MimLogue

May-16-13 10:00 AM

first of all hic**** dont u work for the state and are paid by the taxpayer for putting in a 3 hour day and getting paid for 8?? U wouldn"t understand how hard self employed people work . Then we have our neighborhoods trounced by government wanting more state and federal funds.

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enoughalready

May-16-13 9:26 AM

Gabe is just angry because A. He didn't come up with the idea himself. B. It wouldn't waste enough city tax dollars. C. This was yet another proposed site for an ice areana. Or D. All of the above.

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