Residents start petition against Jeremiah House

PERKINS TWP. Bell Avenue neighbors aren't rolling out the welcome mat for a proposed halfway house.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

PERKINS TWP.

Bell Avenue neighbors aren't rolling out the welcome mat for a proposed halfway house.

Rod Dahlke has collected 18 signatures from neighborhood residents who don't think the Jeremiah House should call their community home.

Dahlke, Katrina Scroggy and Matt Roesch said the neighborhood residents have exhausted the political route and started a petition to show home owner Ruth Parker they don't want the Jeremiah House to take up residency at 608 Bell Ave.

The proposed home for recently-released men convicted of drug- and alcohol-related crimes would offer faith-based programming with the goal of reintroducing the men back into society.

But in this quiet residential neighborhood, those living next door aren't being very quiet about their concerns regarding ex-felons living nearby.

Their attitude isn't just "not in our neighborhood", it's "not in any residential neighborhood," Dahlke noted.

"People in Sandusky don't want it anymore than we do," he said. "I'm not saying it should be there, either."

Dahlke said it seems Parker is under the impression that neighbors changed their minds about the home. Dahlke wants to know who gave her that impression because there are at least 18 residents on Bell Avenue and a small portion of Campbell Street that aren't OK with the home.

Parker didn't return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.

Mary Artino signed the petition because she is concerned about having new neighbors across the street from the home she has lived in for 59 years.

She lives alone and has her grandchildren and great grandchildren over to play in her yard, something she said she won't be doing if the Jeremiah House moves in.

"I don't know if I can stay down there if this happens," said Edna Schoewe, a petition signer who is a recent widow.

Schoewe and her late husband moved off Barker Street after Barker became an alternative school because they couldn't sit on their porch without being heckled by students, she said.

Among the residents' concerns are safety, property value and supervision at the home.

Rev. Doris Troup has reiterated to nearby residents that men participating in the program are not sexual offenders or child-oriented offenders.

Perkins Township administrators are awaiting a response to a letter of inquiry to ensure the home meets code standards to house the program.