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Topic: Hurriedly closing our firehouse raises issues of social justice, neighborhood sustainability, and good government


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Posted by frappyjohn (Msg), 3:05 am Dec 29, 2008:
Hurriedly closing our firehouse raises issues of social justice, neighborhood sustainability, and good government
Dear Brick Housers,

In a sly move during the chaos of the times, the City is rushing to permanently close our historic local firehouse (the oldest continuously operating firehouse in the U.S.) just three days from now. This raises vital issues of social justice since the firehouse serves the northern, less affluent end of Old Louisville. And it flies in the face of our core Brick House principles of localism and neighborhood sustainability. If we truly want to walk the walk, we as an organization and as individuals need to mobilize and speak up now.

On December 10, Mayor Abramson gave just three weeks' notice that Old Louisville's Fire Engine Company No. 7, at 821 S. 6th St., would be closed and permanently disbanded. Unless we act during the next day or two, this living local institution will be forever lost on January 1 (this Thursday).

Those of us who question this action invite you to attend a meeting:

  • Public Meeting
  • Monday night (tonight) at 7 p.m.
  • at the offices of the Council on Mental Retardation,
  • 1151 S. 4th Street.

The Fire Chief and other city officials are planning to attend. We should be there too. (See the meeting notice below.)

There are several reasons why we should oppose this abrupt closing of our local firehouse:

  • This firehouse holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating firehouse in the United States! This is something our neighborhood and our entire city should be immensely proud of. Moreover, the renown that this brings our city must have a significant economic value just in the way it affects the world's perception of our city's quality of life. (Unfortunately this value does not show up in the annual city budget!!)
  • The firehouse is situated on the north edge of Old Louisville and the south edge of Downtown. This includes the historic Limerick neighborhood. But to the north and east it also includes much high density housing, largely older housing for senior citizens and for the less affluent members of our society. We suspect the Mayor thinks these folk feel less empowered and will be less apt to mount an effective opposition to his move on such short notice. We need to fill the breech and enable our neighbors to be heard.
  • Firehouses by their nature should distributed and not consolidated. Initial response time is critical, particularly for apartment houses and institutions where a fire can harm more people in a shorter time. We are not talking about inconveniencing people; we are talking about endangering people, most of them the unseen and unheard in our community.
  • In recent years people throughout Louisville have been working to build closer-knit, more sustainable neighborhoods. Vital local-level institutions are an integral part of healthy and self-sufficient neighborhoods. The mayor apparently doesn't understand this yet. It is our job to educate him.

Here's what you can do to help stop this foolish action:

  • Inform yourself of the facts and issues at http://brickhouse.cc/ and http://www.myspace.com/louisville_engine7
  • Attend the meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at 1151 S. 4th St. (See the meeting notice below.) Speak out in a calm, reasoned way (against this idiocy).
  • Publicize this issue, and the meeting, to your friends and neighbors. Consider handbills and signs.
  • Take a couple of minutes to communicate your displeasure to your elected representatives. (See the list below.)

The world gets better or gets worse a little bit at a time. To build a healthy world ... to live a good life ... we must forever be ready to speak up forcefully, and on short notice, about what may seem to mayors and the media to be small issues. We are wiser than they; we know that life is lived at the local level. And we must make that fact known to them. Local issues like this are what matter in the crafting of a humane society.

Thanks. See you tonight!

John Hicks
Member, Brick House Board of Directors
502-213-0428



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