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Peace Meal will continue

City officials were right to immediately close the Community Center when they learned it was in danger of collapsing. It’s unfortunate that the closure then led to the weekly Peace Meal being forced to move, but neither situation is permanent, and the meal will continue, just in a different location.

Engineers were called in to inspect the Community Center building after a city employee doing repairs reported a serious bulge in the north wall. The engineers said the ceiling trusses were unsafe and needed to be replaced. City project manager Kaylea Kathol says there is no temporary solution that will render the building safe for public occupancy.

That displaces 20 group meetings or events held in the center every week. A theater production was forced to move to Carpenter Hall. Other events will move to Pioneer Hall, which will displace the Peace Meal that happens there every Friday evening.

Supporters of the Peace Meal have been vocal in calling on the city to reconsider, but the meal is not ending. The meal for homeless and low-income Ashland residents happens four nights a week at the winter shelter, but moves into local parks when the shelter closes April 13.

Peace Meal organizers say the Pioneer Hall meal every Friday offers consistency to people who have little in their lives. That’s important, but it’s more important that the meals continue. Community members should welcome the Friday meals into a city park if that becomes necessary, understanding that the move is likely temporary.

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