Residents Brainstorm Ideas for Gainesville's Former Correctional Institution
GAINESVILLE- It's the homeless shelter many in Gainesville have been waiting for. On Friday, renovations began to transform the former inmate center into a place the entire community could use.
On Saturday, residents, county, and city offfcials brainstormed on what the planned center could do for the homeless and the community as a whole. Only four of the empty buildings at Gainesviille's former correctional institution have been set aside for the homeless, possibilities for other programs on the property were introduced by many at Saturday's meeting.
Gainesville city commissioner Randy Wells said "Taking the blinders off not thinking for a moment about how you would fund the programs or who would do the programs just simply what could be done there. We kind of started with the "blue sky" moment what is desirable, what would be possible at the site."
Some suggested a job training and skills program and even space for community events but many are keeping the focus on the homeless and the need to speed up the process. Gainesville resident Zot Lynn Szurgot said, "Waiting on a contract to a service provider with a complex and large comprehensive contract is not something that's going to help anybody this next month or so."
This talk is one of many city and county officials hope to hold and it's seen as a step forward for the Gainesville community. A Gainesville advocate for the homeless Pat Fitzpatrick told us, "After today and seeing the community involved like this I don't have any concerns at this time. I'm sure there will be but what a great job the community has done on this."
The most popular ideas from Saturday will be reviewed by both Gainesville and Alachua County commissioners within a few weeks.
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