Mayor Mark Stodola has begun circulating news of a potential site for a day center for homeless services, a matter of some controversy in recent months. He's invited interested parties to tour the location, a former state probation office at 1421 E. 9th Street, in the industrial district on the west side of the airport. No details as yet on cost and related issues. There's been no formal public announcement of which I'm aware. He also hadn't told city directors until word leaked out and one of the directors complained about the lack of notice.
City Director Erma Hendrix, who represents the area, said the mayor did not call her until after the note was circulated. I got it before she got the news. She's not happy. She still has objections because of the concentration of shelters in her ward. She suggested a better spot would be the vacant Harvest Foods store in the Riverdale shopping center on Cantrell Road, which is along a rail line and near a popular spot for homeless camps. She said she'd invite some East End residents who live near the proposed site to attend the tour with the mayor Wednesday morning. "Mark is just bent on provoking me," Hendrix said. "It's just not fair." She said Stodola didn't want a residents' meeting on the center, but wanted to talk to her individually. "That's just not right," she said. "We are a community."
The mayor's note on the jump:
I would like to invite various interested parties to tour a potential location for the Homeless Day Service Center. I would like feedback from the Mayors Homeless Commission, the Homeless Coalition and the public. With winter closing in upon us, I would like to move forward with establishing a permanent location as soon as possible. I have toured the building in the past and believe it will accommodate a variety of needs including a safe and secure location for feeding the homeless; offices for case assessment and referral; job re-training and referrals; certain medical needs; laundry facilities and clothing areas; as well as likely emergency shelter needs including a warming center for this winter.
The location is at 1421 E. 9th St. Little Rock, the former Arkansas Department of Correction Probation offices. The site, which is 4 acres, is fully fenced with ample parking and substantial green space at the rear of the property.
The initial tour will be this Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:30am. We may need to tour this facility again, but I want to get the process started. Thank you.