Columbus declines to place baby box at local fire station

A Columbus North High School senior hopes to continue his senior project to install a Safe Haven baby box in Columbus despite city officials declining to install it at a city fire station.

Hunter Wart approached the city last fall with his senior project proposal and was in the process of raising $10,000 for a baby box to be installed at Columbus Fire Station No. 3, 80 S. Gladstone Ave.

Mary Ferdon, the city’s executive director of administration and community development, told Wart in an e-mail dated Jan. 3 about the city’s decision.

“After careful consideration and research by city staff, the Columbus Fire Department administration and staff, and discussion with medical providers, the city does not believe this is the optimal way of dealing with the surrender of infants,” Ferdon wrote.

Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., who is working with Wart on his senior project, said they have been looking for an alternate location that will accept a baby box.

“Of course, we are disappointed in the city of Columbus not wanting to save more babies from abandonment and give women 100 percent anonymity, but we are not discouraged,” Kelsey said.

For the complete story, see Saturday’s Republic.