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Community Development Tools for Middletown

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Category: Middletown City Government
Forum Name: City Manager
Forum Description: Discuss the city manager administration including all city departments.
Printed Date: Jan 19 2020 at 4:01am

Topic: Community Development Tools for Middletown
Posted By: Analytical
Subject: Community Development Tools for Middletown
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 2:22pm
1)  Habitat for Humanity

Many municipalities nationwide have recognized the value of partnering with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliates over the years to provide both new and rehabilitated affordable home ownership opportunities.

In my 40 plus years as a HUD programs administrator, home builder,etc., I had the privilege of working closely with HFH affiliates in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma plus Hot Springs, Arkansas.  In the latter, a community of comparable population to Middletown, the city utilized CDBG funding assistance for the installation of sewer and water mains, street paving, curbing and sidewalks in two separate subdivisions of 11 and 18 dwellings.

Middletown has an explosion of vacant lots in older neighborhoods created by the city's massive demolition program.  Wouldn't it be advantageous for the city to partner with HFH in constructing new homes to help stabilize/increase property ownership/values/tax revenues, re-establish the proper massing of homes on otherwise ravaged blocks, provide expanded affordable housing options, etc.?

In a follow-up to this first Community Development Tool, I will present other useful information on how the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) - Cinnicinnati has/is working with Ohio and Kentucky affiliates of HFH to provide safe, decent, energy-efficient and affordable new and rehabilitated home ownership opportunities.

Wouldn't it be beneficial to reduce the burgeoning cost of mowing and removing trash from many of the city's vacant lots as well?

Nelson Self 

Posted By: Douglas Adkins
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 2:41pm
We've been working with Habitat for the entire time I've been in Community Revitalization and as City Manager. Habitat hasn't been able to find candidates who were willing to do the hands on portion of the labor to make a project in Middletown work. They've tried for several years in a row.

Nelson, your information is almost all outdated and obsolete.

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 3:26pm
Doug -

Your comments reflect  an utter lack of interest in most anything but residential demolition, blitzkrieg type code enforcement and ineffective "downtown" giveaways.  Maybe the problem is that you aren't interested or incapable of engendering volunteerism in Middletown.  You have so much to learn about utilizing HUD funds to leverage private and other quasi-government funding.  Your eight years of involvement with Community Revitalization has produced failed assurances (Section 8), gross waste of NSP funds (I've worked with HUD since when you were in grade school and they didn't force communities to hand out such unwarranted subsidies as you allege), gross deconstruction of some older neighborhoods, abandonment of housing rehabilitation efforts, major reduction in the partnership THAT I founded with People Working Cooperatively (PWC) for emergency home repair, etc.

Your background is in law, prosecutorial matters and certain areas of the business world.  Your role in the costly and mostly stalled downtown projects says it all.  You are fortunate that City Council gives you a blank check and that the populace is as apathetic as they are.

I still predict that you will venture away from Middletown in the near future as the damage is done and you have depleted pockets of available funding like the former Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Fund.

In my 40 plus years of professional life, I am proud to say that I formed partnerships with entities such as Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Bank - Dallas, Habitat for Humanity (OKC and Hot Springs), Connecticut Housing Finance Agency, etc.  In your case, you have scattered vacant lots, empty "downtown" properties and sweetheart deals like the 1300 block of Central Avenue properties that you gave away for the staggering sum of $1.00.

Most of all, it seems that your personality and temperament is non-conducive to engendering TRUE citizen engagement, volunteerism, private-public partnerships, etc.

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 3:33pm
Regarding your Habitat for Humanity critique, there's a treasure trove of current success stories throughout the nation.  Why is it that you haven't engendered the support of churches, philanthropic entities, Butler Tech, etc., etc. in helping to make HFH a reality in Middletown?????

Doug, just spend a little time on the internet and then tell me that my comments were outdated and obsolete.  I happen to now live in a community where HFH is also active and productive.  They work closely with city government, local businesses, churches, etc., etc. and continue to produce respectable numbers of new and rehabilitated affordable homes!!!!!!!

Why not in Middletown????

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 3:39pm
Doug, I also want to remind you that it was ME who first established a close working relationship with Berachah Baptist Church in undertaking several CDBG-assisted projects.  And, I worked closely with a representative and informed Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) who gave the citizenry a REAL voice in HUD-funded programs and projects.  I was grateful for the participation of people like Walter Leap, Paul Renwick, Robyn McNally French, Bert Grimes, Rosa Lean Lindsey, Wanda Glover, Chris Amburgey, Dr. Mitchell Foster, etc.  By comparison, your approach to Citizen's Participation is a SHAM. 

Posted By: middiemom
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 3:51pm
Doug just dropped the mic on you, Nelson. Go away. Not your fault you're not up to date as to the goings on here in town, you don't even live here anymore.

Middletown... Bright past BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 4:04pm
City Manager Greg Burris - Springfield, Missouri "Zone Blitz" initiative promotes community unity

What began 18 months ago as a look at crime statistics, has turned into a multi-pronged initiative that City leaders believe has the ability to unite Springfieldians in a common crusade to improve quality of life through the simple act of neighbors helping neighbors.

In early 2015, City staff were reviewing crime data, when they wondered what it might look like to review additional information from various focus areas, such as health indicators, median household income, voting patterns, and unemployment, and map those in a similar way that the police department does for crime. The results were compelling enough to interest everyone from church pastors to daycare workers.

“The 20" rel="nofollow - heat maps  we created from the data we collected gave us insights into the challenges and opportunities we face, and eventually became the fuel for what has evolved into one of Springfield’s most comprehensive and collaborative efforts to initiate positive change,” said City Manager Greg Burris.

The effort is called the" rel="nofollow - Community Listen Zone Blitz  and involves nearly" rel="nofollow - 200 community partner organizations  and 300 volunteers. And it’s just now really getting started.

After creating the heat maps, the City of Springfield teamed up in May 2015 with an initial group of 40 community partner organizations, such as Springfield Public Schools, health care systems, banking institutions, nonprofits and members of the faith community to hear directly from residents what they liked best about their neighborhoods and what they most wanted to change within their neighborhoods.

The" rel="nofollow - three-week tour  took place in nine Zone 1 neighborhoods at local elementary schools. This opened up a dialogue that identified the top three concerns to be: 1) chronic nuisance properties, 2) sidewalks and infrastructure and 3) public safety.

After the listening meetings, the City immediately began work on the top three areas of concern identified by Zone 1 neighbors.

“As talks continued, and as more and more people saw the heat maps, additional partners signed on, and we began to uncover creative additional ways we can all work together. The top three concerns became the top nine concerns, as we ultimately reached consensus on the things that we thought were critical to improving the overall Zone 1 community. In essence: to make life in Zone 1, and eventually all of Springfield, better,” said Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement. “Residents in these neighborhoods knew what needed to be done and agreed to help be a major part of the process.”

Eleven “topic teams” were created and only met a couple of times to brainstorm and set a strategy. The work of nine of those teams corresponded to" rel="nofollow - focus areas  identified through various types of research and meetings and an additional two teams focused on communication and civic engagement.
Word spread about the focus areas the teams were trying to address, and soon City staff and Zone 1 Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson were invited to speak “in neighborhoods, at churches and schools and civic clubs, and to meet with individuals representing about any type of group you can think of,” Scott said.

“Everyone from high school students to retired folks came to Cora and me with great ideas to make Springfield better. And by connecting these individuals and groups and responding to challenges identified by all concerned, a roster of projects emerged,” Burris explained.

The original discussion reviewing crime data, ultimately led to a list of public safety projects included as part of the Blitz. As of the official launch July 11, 2016, there were 60 Zone Blitz projects that have either been completed, are in the planning phase, are about to start, or are currently underway.

At Monday’s official launch, the City’s Director of Workforce Development, Mary Ann Rojas, announced that Springfield has been awarded a $129,000 grant from the State Department of Workforce Development for a pre-apprenticeship program to offer on-the-job, “earning while learning” training and that the Workforce Investment Board recently approved opening a Zone 1 Job Center. Zone Blitz partner CoxHealth worked with Rojas to find a location on the first floor of Cox Medical Tower.

The list of partners also continues to grow. Today, nearly 200 partners have committed, some of which are fully engaged in Zone Blitz projects and others who are waiting in the wings to see where they are needed or how they can help.

The focus areas include:" rel="nofollow - chronic nuisance properties," rel="nofollow - housing," rel="nofollow - digital divide,  (inequality with regard to access to, use of, or impact of information and communication technologies)" rel="nofollow - infrastructure and transportation," rel="nofollow - jobs and economic development," rel="nofollow - food access," rel="nofollow - public safety," rel="nofollow - health care  and" rel="nofollow - wellness .
Another trend the City’s heat maps revealed was significantly higher rates of poverty in northwest Springfield, exceeding the city’s 25.6 percent overall poverty rate. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks stepped forward to launch a $1.3 million privately funded program, called" rel="nofollow - The Northwest Project,  to take place in conjunction with the Zone Blitz at a community hub called" rel="nofollow - The Fairbanks  in Zone 1’s Grant Beach Neighborhood.

Bridget Dierks, CFO’s grant program officer, said she hopes the five-year project will become a transformative model for the community, where immediate needs are addressed, but also families will be helped to achieve their own dreams for success.

“I’m proud of my fellow north side neighbors, who work so hard to make Springfield’s north side a great place to live,” said Zone 1 Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson. “I’m proud of my City Council colleagues who have shown support for this initiative because they know what it means for the entire community – not just Zone 1.”

Ferguson said Craig Fishel, a Councilman from Springfield’s Zone 4, where many of Springfield’s most affluent residents are located, has been particularly helpful after attending all nine listening sessions in 2015.

“Instead of ignoring the challenges that residents face in other parts of the City, Craig has instead chosen to learn all that he can about those challenges and has worked to bring organizations and people together from across the city,” said Ferguson.

Burris said that the response from the faith community has been “incredible” and is encouraged by an effort he and Scott have started to bring vastly different church congregations together to help work on the common vision.

“The Zone Blitz will be an 18-month project that will attempt to ‘move the needle’ on poverty within our community. To attack a challenge that is this complex and multifaceted, it can only work if every sector of our community gets involved – it only works as a barn raising,” Burris said. “For example, bringing diverse partners within our faith-based sector together to address a unifying challenge of poverty has the potential to be a ‘healing moment’ within our community. We’re more alike than different, and every faith-based organization has this in their mission.”" rel="nofollow - project list and “menu of opportunities"  for partners is beginning to take shape and is available online at" rel="nofollow -

Later this summer, individuals and organizations will be able to sign up for specific volunteer opportunities through a centralized, online volunteer service coordinating participant needs and reducing the overlap of services. Drury University’s Community Outreach and Leadership Development Office is managing the online component, in coordination with The Northwest Project.

Ferguson said she is most proud of the City staff and community partners who work so well together, despite busy schedules and sometimes what seem to be competing interests.

“The focus areas we identified are not necessarily easy to address: a communities health and wellness; easy access to healthy foods; a safe place to lay our heads at night; miles of roadways and infrastructure to maintain; good, steady jobs; public safety; those slumlords who don’t take care of their properties and then take advantage of people who cannot afford to make waves or move somewhere else. In north Springfield, however, we are get-it-done type of people. And we have challenged ourselves, challenged our community – and I promise you, that we will GET. IT. DONE,” she said.

For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement at 417-864-1009 or visit" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 4:45pm

OCTOBER 17, 2016

HFHS Portrait Logo

Homeownership with Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, Missouri:" rel="nofollow - Habitat for Humanity  helps individuals and families achieve strengthstability and self-reliance through shelter. As active participants in building a better future for themselves and their families, qualified Habitat homebuyers are evaluated on three initial criteria prior to applying for the Habitat for Humnity homebuying program. 

3 Criteria for Habitat Homebuying Program:" rel="nofollow">Need
  • In Need of Better Housing: potential homebuyers might be dealing with poorly made, unhealthy or inadequate housing; unaffordable rent; homes inaccessible for their disabilities or damaged by natural disasters; or have other shelter needs." rel="nofollow">Partner
  • Willing to Partner with Habitat: Habitat homebuyers put in 250-350 hours of sweat equity helping build their home and the homes of others in the program. This also includes the" rel="nofollow - Tools for Life  homeowner education series focused on personal finance, home maintenance, and other homeownership topics. 
  • Ability to Pay an Affordable Mortgage: Habitat offers homebuyers an affordable mortgage. Their mortgage payments cycle back into the community to build and repair more affordable homes." rel="nofollow">Every Person - FB Graphic 6.3.16
If you or someone you know is interested in owning a home with Habitat for Humanity, please contact" rel="nofollow - Nancy Williams , partner services director at 417-829-4001 x 105.

Home Preservation and Repair Programs

The Home Preservation and Repair Programs help low-income homeowners in Greene County, Missouri restore and maintain their homes. Habitat partners with homeowners to alleviate critical health and safety issues and complete needed home improvement projects.  Programs include A Brush with Kindness, Critical Home Repair, and Creating Healthy Homes.

How it Works

Habitat is currently accepting applications for exterior repair and preservation work. These projects could include but are not limited to the repair, replacement, or upgrade of:
  • Roofs
  • Mechanical systems
  • Insulation
  • Windows and Exterior Doors
  • Gutters
  • Siding
  • Steps, Ramps, Porches, Decks and Retaining Walls
  • Walkways and Driveways
  • Landscaping
  • Brush and trash removal
Habitat serves as the general contractor and may complete repair projects using staff and volunteers or hire subcontractors, depending on the nature of the repairs and type of funding available.
Residents accepted into the A Brush with Kindness or Critical Home Repair programs that use staff and volunteers to conduct the repairs may receive an affordable, no-interest loan for the cost of materials, and labor will be at no cost in most cases.


A good deal for you, your community and the environment.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.
The ReStore is independently owned and operated by Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, MO. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.


Part home improvement store, part homegoods store, part resale store, the ReStore has a wide selection that changes often. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, homeowner, renter, landlord, contractor, interior designer, environmentalist or treasure hunter, make Habitat for Humanity ReStore your first stop when shopping for your next home improvement, renovation or DIY project. The ReStore is open to the public to shop our ever changing inventory!" rel="nofollow - Learn more »


Habitat ReStore accepts new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods and more from individuals and companies. Drop off your donation at our ReStore or schedule a free donation pick-up service." rel="nofollow - Learn more »


From customer service to donation coordination, there’s a multitude of volunteer opportunities geared toward individual interests and skills at the ReStore. Volunteers provide support to keep operating costs as low as possible, maximizing the amount of money that goes directly to benefit your community." rel="nofollow - Learn more »

ReStore Insider Discounts and News

Join the Dream Builders e-newsletter list" rel="nofollow - here  for first-alert sales notifications, news updates, and exclusive coupons.

Neighborhood Revitalization

Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) is an approach to serve more families by responding to community goals with a variety of products, services and partnerships that enable residents to revive their neighborhoods and enhance their quality of life.

NR will help serve more families in Greene County, Missouri with an expanded array of products, services and partnerships. Habitat will respond to community priorities and work hand-in-hand with residents to revive their neighborhood and enhance their quality of life. NR is more than just a new Habitat product. This is a holistic approach to creating change in our neighborhoods that have the greatest need for stability. This means joining residents, nonprofits, businesses and local government to discover what is needed most in a neighborhood, and helping to implement a shared vision of revitalization.

Creating Greater Impact NR - Spoke & Wheel - Woodland Heights at Center

Habitat’s mission is to create successful homeownership by partnering hardworking families in need with the community to build and repair homes, making them healthier and more affordable. While new home construction and home repair remains at the core of what we do, we cannot transform neighborhoods through construction alone. By launching NR, we are able to work more intensively within a neighborhood to meet resident needs and aspirations, ultimately improving the quality of life for not only residents of these neighborhoods, but for the city as a whole.Habitat is just one spoke in the wheel that will assist in the efforts to revitalize a neighborhood.

Habitat will improve the lives of families through:
  •" rel="nofollow - Home Construction
    Address the need to create new affordable homeownership opportunities in the focus area of" rel="nofollow - Woodland Heights .
  •" rel="nofollow - Home Preservation & Repair
    Alleviate critical health and safety issues and complete needed home improvement projects.

Community partners will improve the lives of families through:

  • Establishing community goals and developing a strategic planing outlining methods of revitalization.

Learn more about Neighborhood Revitalization in our targeted area of" rel="nofollow - Woodland Heights  in Springfield’s Zone 1. Visit the" rel="nofollow - Woodland Heights Neighborhood Facebook  page or visit their" rel="nofollow - website .


Posted By: middiemom
Date Posted: Jun 26 2017 at 4:45pm
Wow, Doug really got under the skin of Nelson. You were let go for a reason, Nelson. Do us on this site and yourself a favor and just let it go. You are almost as bad as disenfranchised Hillary voters with your wild conspiracy theories. Doug and Middletown are moving forward, why can't you?

Middletown... Bright past BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 30 2017 at 11:48am
Many municipalities throughout the U.S. have sponsored positive marketing events to promote "June is National Home Ownership Month."   Maybe, just maybe, beginning next year, the City of Middletown will help to sponsor noteworthy activities in conjunction with local housing industry partners to emphasize the city as being a strategically located, affordable housing alternative within Cincinnati-Dayton corridor??

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 30 2017 at 11:56am
MiddieMom -

I've researched your MUSA posts and didn't find any suggestions as to how the City of Middletown may bolster the lagging local housing market, downtown, job creation, etc.  In addition, in response to your laudatory comments regarding so many wonderful improvements in the city, I found no cited project examples that you've inferred.

You're now well known as someone who posts derogatory (and inaccurate) comments about me and others.  You're also the supreme cheerleader of community betterment deals, etc. promulgated by current city senior staff.  In response, when it comes to you, I believe that "truth is only in the eyes of the beholder."  I would also observe that "ignorance is bliss."

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 30 2017 at 12:55pm
City of Pawtucket, RI -- Citizens Participation Process for CDBG and Other Grants
A Model for Mr. Adkins and City Staff to Consider?

From 1972 through 1978 I worked for the Pawtucket, RI Redevelopment and Planning Department first as an Associate Planner and later as the Chief of Renewal Planning.  During my tenure, I found that this community truly welcomed citizens participation in their then $6,000,000 plus HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

Immediately following is the latest version of the Citizens Participation Plan for this community  It truly is a model for Mr. Adkins and Community Revitalization Staff to consider and emulate in the City of Middletown.

4. Summary of citizen participation process and consultation process In order to ensure maximum participation from the citizens of Pawtucket

The Consolidated Planning process included public meetings, and consultations with key sub-populations. In addition to consultations the City held (3) public meetings. An additional public meeting was held before the City Council on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 where the public could comment on the plan.  The city also assisted various applicants with technical assistance in preparing applications for funding requests.

Monday, January 16, 2017 General Newspaper Notice/Email Meeting Invitation to non-profits, community groups and City Councilors

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 CDBG Public Meeting to Explain Grant Process Review Performance 2015-2016 (CAPER) Presentation of 1 yr. Con-Plan Needs/Explanation CDBG/ESG/HOME Programs Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI - 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 

General Newspaper Notice/Applications Available/Applications emailed to City Council members February 1-27, 2017 On-call technical assistance meetings with applicants to assist with grant eligibility and preparation Monday, February 27, 2017 Applications Due Date 4 P.M. February 28 – March 7, 2017 

Review of all submitted applications for eligibility/status of current CDBG grant if previously funded. March 1, 2017 Email list of all applications received sent to Mayor and City Council in advance of public hearings Tuesday, March 7, 2017 CDBG Public Service Application Public Hearing Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI - 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9, 2017

CDBG Activities/HOME Housing Applications Public Hearing Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI - 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Present application to City Council Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Ad in The Pawtucket Times, announcing the availability of the Annual Action Plan and requesting comments on the proposed funding plan until May 25, 2017. All meeting locations were accessible to persons with disabilities and all meeting notices included information about how to request accommodation such as a translator or other assistance.

Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Jun 30 2017 at 1:23pm
I guess Nelson Self wants a gold star...

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jun 30 2017 at 3:05pm
I still believe that residents of Middletown deserve high-impact, cost-effective, long-lasting results from the city's Community Revitalization and Economic Development Departments?  Being the cynic that you are, I deduct that your agenda is to maintain the status quo in Middletown?  May I suggest that you spend a few minutes and contemplate the sampling of these success stories of other communities as well as funding sources available to leverage HUD and other taxpayers dollars here.

Sadly, you seem to be oblivious to the stalled downtown projects, multi-millions of taxpayers funds spent thus far, the ultra negative impact of older neighborhood residential demolitions, etc.  Never once have you offered any solutions (programmatic or otherwise) to help Middletown rise up from the current malaise.  It would appear that you and MiddleiMom have much in common.

Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Jul 01 2017 at 4:31am
Mr. Adkins recently offered comments regarding the inability of Habitat for Humanity to undertake projects of any kind within the City of Middletown in recent years.  By comparison, why is it that Habitat for Humanity has had such a significant presence in the City of Hamilton during the same time frame?

Immediately following are two examples of Hamilton's success:

1)  Third Ward Community Develpment Program -- This fiscal year the City of Hamilton has allocated $140,000 of HUD Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program funding to support affordable housing development endeavors.  Similar capital resources were made to Habitat for Humanity for similar projects in the past.

 2)  Habitat for Humanity Re-Store -- In the City of Hamilton a Re-Store facility is located at 896 Fairview Avenue.  A summary of the Re-Store initiative is as follows:" rel="nofollow">About the ReStore" rel="nofollow - ABOUT THE RESTORE

  •" rel="nofollow">Shop2
  •" rel="nofollow">Donate
  •" rel="nofollow">Volunteer
  •" rel="nofollow">ReCycle2

The purpose of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati’s ReStores is to help provide funding for our organization’s mission of helping to alleviate poverty housing in our area.  The stores do this by selling donated new and used appliances, furniture, cabinets, building products and household items to the general public.  While it is not the only source of funding for the organization, the profit from these stores has allowed us to help serve more families in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The success of the ReStores has been made possible by the generous donations of individuals and companies throughout our area.  Without their continued support and generosity, our stores would not have been able to help those in need to the extent that they have.  By providing free pick up service, the stores are also an outlet for our donors to be able to recycle and repurpose items that may have otherwise gone to our local landfills.  Since these items are donated to us, we are able to provide our donors with a charitable gift receipt.

The ReStores have become an important part in Habitat’s mission to build homes, communities…and hope.

Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Jul 01 2017 at 8:55am
we cant even maintain the status quo
we deserve better swohio
former downtown is swarming with police while people are overdosing on every other corner
rough night for emt and junkies last night

at least Gracies and the wine bar are rocking!

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