Editorials, Opinion

Former Ramada continues exciting changes into hub

As life in Morgantown chugs along, the former Ramada Inn is undergoing an exciting transformation.

Although updates aren’t as frequent as we’d like, we are thrilled with all the progress that has been announced. The United Way, Bartlett Housing Solutions and The Salvation Army have all settled into the building now tentatively referred to as “The Hazel House of Hope.” Last we heard, only 15 of 300 rooms were not occupied or under negotiation, and the plan for a 5,000-square-foot, first-floor sobering center is still on track.

We’ve supported this project from the beginning, but we had concerns about such important services being moved to an out-of-the-way area of town. However, one of the latest announcements included information regarding extended bus routes to the new “house of hope.”

Mountain Line could extend its routes to the building on Scott Avenue from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday to 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week. The extended hours are being worked around The Salvation Army’s meal service times, and the proposed routes to the former Ramada, and corresponding schedules, are unofficial.

We’re glad to see Mountain Line step up to provide transportation to the new location. When these services were located downtown, part of each program’s success was the close proximity to each other and to the people using them. Reliable, affordable public transportation will be the key to continued success.

It will be exciting to see what opportunities the new location brings —  to the recipients of social services, the services themselves and the community at large. Hopefully, having the space to grow and a one-stop-shop approach will open new doors and more positive outcomes for everyone involved.

Jonathan Board, interim director for nonprofit Morgantown Community Resources, which owns and operates the property, during the last progress update told our reporter, “Morgantown Community Resources is not here to make money. It’s here to provide dignity and hope and shelter and food. So that is our goal.”

We’ll hold him to his word. There are some things in life that shouldn’t be done to make a profit, because they are essential to human life. Too many Americans are one missed paycheck away from losing everything. Those who have lost everything, who show up at the front door of places like “The Hazel House of Hope,” deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, because tomorrow that could be us.