Let’s work together to preserve history, dignity

To the Editor:

As a member of the community of Troy, a resident of the neighborhood in which the Family Abuse Shelter is located and an advocate of both social supports for those in need and the respectful care and preservation of historically relevant buildings and information, I felt it was time to contribute to the dialogue about the proposed destruction of the Trinity Church by the owners of the Family Abuse Shelter.

This may or may not be your first hearing of this drastic event. You may have heard conflicting stories about the cost/benefit of tearing down the historic church to make way for a newer building to house those who are needing shelter.

There is much more that our community needs to be aware of in this situation. Indeed we have a significant need for providing support to those who face homelessness whether it results from domestic violence, an unexpected financial crisis or the new difficulty that faces each and every community — drug addiction.

Troy has done a fine job of keeping the homeless population mostly out of public view for quite some time. However, as responsible, compassionate citizens, we cannot deny that it exists, and that it will continue to increase (as shown by most reports on any major news network you may choose to listen to or read.)

The shelter expects to serve this increased population by tearing down an historically important building. That much has been established. The great concern is, with such a small footprint, this seems a short-sighted solution to a very large, very long-term problem. The Unity for Trinity group, formed to offer alternatives to the destruction of the church, has made numerous suggestions to avoid this. The shelter wishes to maintain their presence downtown and there have been numerous alternate sites suggested, which not only meet the criteria the shelter stated it required, offers significantly more space for building, and also for parking. Already there is a significant issue with parking at the present location. Safety for the residents, both of the shelter, and the surrounding community is something that must not be overlooked when consideration is given for any permits, and is something that has not been addressed sufficiently.

We can, if we work collaboratively, preserve both the history of this building and the dignity of those who are being served by the shelter. I urge the city of Troy, and those foundations and organizations who would consider funding this potential building, to look at the full impact of this plan, not just for a short-term fix for a few families or individuals, or a commitment to a legacy; but to take an open and honest look at what our community truly needs now and will likely continue to need in the future.

— Terri Parmenter