Hub for change in community: Former Ramada site offers options for homeless, social services center

One proverb goes, the secret of getting ahead is getting started. That might best describe the news last week of plans for the former Ramada Inn hotel on Scott Avenue.
For now, what we know is that WVU Medicine hopes to operate the site as a central hub for nonprofit social and homeless services — rent free.
The former hotel came to WVU Medicine by way of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.
Clearly, this gift to the community of a
30,000 square-foot building and a10-acre lot,
along with a commercial kitchen that can serve 1,500 meals a day, has great potential.
Centralizing these services and agencies we think is an excellent idea. Not to mention we want to be among the first to express our gratitude for this gift.
Though we suspect converting this building into a center for homeless and social services will not be cost prohibitive, the question many, including us cannot help but ask is how will the homeless get there. And what of the many others who often lack transportation? No, this is not a remote location, but it’s a bit far afield from the greater Morgantown area.
The answer would seem to be working with the Mountain Line Transit Authority to provide transport to the center two or three times a day.
One bus line already runs by here from the Westover depot to South University and on to the Grafton Road area twice daily.
In its heyday, this hotel featured more than
160 rooms and other meeting rooms. Though we’re unsure if any of those rooms will house the homeless that may be in the works in the future.
Relocating such services as health care, shelter and food services for the homeless would seem to be a likely fit at this location but it’s still a work in progress.
This project came up last week during meetings of the Morgantown City Council and the Monongalia County Commission.
We are encouraged that WVU Medicine, local government and the nonprofit sector are cooperating to determine the plan for this building.
Hopefully, the private sector will join this effort too in some limited fashion to help with costs and volunteer materials.
It would appear much of how this project will come to fruition is a work in progress.
We encourage all parties involved in this work to get behind using this location to serve the homeless, others in need and the community at large.
The project will present many changes to our community, but change often comes bearing gifts.

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