Letters to the Editor

Proposed $1.3 billion "Hollywoodland" project in Middletown
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Proposed $1.3 billion "Hollywoodland" project in Middletown

Archdiocese Beacons of light set up to fail? As reported in the DDN, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati published its first draft of the proposed “Beacons of Light” family parish plan this week. What’s not surprising is how the church plans to address the challenges it faces. Over the past fifty years, the two dominant negative trends include a decrease in the number of active priests (-61%) and shrinking membership (-16%), a staggering negative 4:1 ratio. Both data points show no imminent change forthcoming. The competing data points of supply and demand leads one to suspect this may not be the last consolidation. What if Beacons - Phase I fails? Will there be a Phase II, III or IV, until nothing is left? Regrettably, Beacons tackles the wrong data point because the universal church leaves the archdiocese hamstrung. The only available choice is to consolidate, close, and/or redefine community parishes. Catholic laity is not blameless. For years, despite mismanagement, countless clergy abuse scandals and awareness of declining vocations, the faithful have failed to demand change. Catholic laity would be better served to apply a full-court press on church leadership to redefine “priesthood” to include unordained religious – i.e., brothers, nuns, married deacons, and eventually married men. New faces may bring alienated Catholics back and invigorate parish life. And religious/married men and religious women may restore confidence in the church once again. Other Christian denominations prove that a diverse clergy works. It would be interesting to see whether parish families might vote to expand ordained clergy rather than shutter parish campuses and/or strip services — if only the choice was ours to make. Thomas P. Doyle, Tipp City

With respect to “Hollywoodland” and CARES funds, are Middletown officials also investing CARES funds in public health reforms protecting people during the next pandemic? During the pandemic, people experienced real fear that if stricken, no one would help and the medical community was overwhelmed. What was and is needed are Community Health Centers, open 7 days, 8-10 hours, for diagnosis and treatment. What was and is needed are mobile medical vans for home visits to assess, treat and refer people for care. Today, a COVID test shortage still exists. If Hollywoodland builds a water park, will council invest CARES funds for two- and four-year public health programs training students to staff health centers, manufacture and staff vans to treat patients during the next pandemic? Along with theatres, film studios and hotels, is an equal amount being invested in a proactive system of improved public health here? The council promises jobs. Hospitality jobs are typically part time, below minimum wage, without benefits. Will council specify full time jobs at a minimum wage of $15.00, with benefits? Will CARES funds pay for a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week daycare center for shift workers? The theme Hollywoodland is glamorous, but unconnected to Middletown’s great steel-building legacy, or the Great Miami Conservancy’s dedication to protecting the river. You can do both, and as the blueprints roll out on bars, gift shops and restaurants, invest CARES funds in expanded public health services, too. Sharon Roggenkamp, Middletown