YouTuber Steve Ronin has developed a mighty following exploring the contents of abandoned locations. One of his latest ventures, the five-year vacant, old Harding High School, exposed a hoarder’s delight of chemical messes, destroyed books, desks, supplies and artwork, much of which could have been saved and repurposed on behalf of other students.
The adjacent Bridgeport Hospital is among the concerns eyeing the site to enlarge its healthcare footprint.
Meanwhile, one of Mayor Joe Ganim’s opponents John Gomes asserts the city’s neglect has created a physical and emotional stain.
From the Gomes’ campaign:
In response, Bridgeport Mayoral candidate John Gomes stated, “As a near lifelong Bridgeport resident, it hurts me to see the original Harding High School become another symbol of neglect in our city. The Mayor and the City’s Economic Development Department have squandered another government property that could be put for better use. It’s clear health and safety processes were not put in place prior to the transfer from the Board of Education to the city. Unfortunately, as with the recent backlog of FOIA requests, the Mayor is inept in his ability to fix broken processes seven years into his Second Chance term.”
Gomes continued, “Bridgeport, like many cities, struggles with low housing inventory and a high homeless population. At the very least, the property could have temporarily repurposed as a shelter during the pandemic.”
Gomes continued, “It’s been nearly five years since the ribbon was cut at the new Harding High and still no action has been taken to put a vacant city owned property back on the tax roles. With the plan and construction of a new Bassick High School on the horizon, it’s imperative we do not repeat the mistakes of Harding. Going forward, we need a hands-on mayor who will work in partnership on pre-planning with the Superintendent, members of the Board of Education, Economic Development staff and the City Council, to ensure a closure, transition, and repurpose of a vacant property that takes a year instead of half a decade.”
Gomes concluded, “An abandoned school and multiple investigative articles on the city’s failure to comply with CT transparency laws continue to have a negative affect on our city’s image; while the current Mayor is still focused on profiting from his personal real estate deals and fighting to obtain his law license. Actions speak louder than hollow words, and it’s as clear as daylight that Bridgeport’s current Mayor solely cares about his future and not yours. The reign of this absentee and ambivalent chief elected official must end so that we can have a city government that works for you.”