CityLink Center ready to open in West End

Nov 13, 2012

CityLink Center on Bank Street in the West End.
Credit Jay Hanselman

After years of planning, legal challenges and construction, the new CityLink Center officially opens Tuesday in the West End.  It will have a different mission than when it was first proposed nearly a decade ago.

The initial plans for CityLink called for a facility to help the homeless with health services, overnight shelter, food, temporary housing and child care.  

CityLink Executive Director Johnmark Oudersluys said that changed in the spring of 2010, when leaders decided instead to focus on the working poor.

“Folks that are usually under 200 percent of the federal poverty level,” Oudersluys said.  “So with that change, we made the change from things like shelter and food and addiction recovery to the things that are more applicable for our target demographic of workforce development, financial education and education.”

Officials will work with other agencies to refer clients who come to CityLink who are homeless, or are dealing with mental illness or substance abuse issues.  

The facility itself has been controversial and a zoning case involving the plan was appealed all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which refused to hear the issue.  

Oudersluys said officials have had several meetings with the West End and Over The Rhine communities about the facility.

“We’ve got a big promise to uphold to them that this is going to be a true blessing to their community, that this is going to help people in their community,” Oudersluys said.  “And that we’ll continue to be a benefit to the neighborhood, and that’s a promise we’re looking forward to living up to.”

The CityLink Center is located on Bank Street just off Central Parkway in the West End.  

The official opening is Tuesday morning at 10.