Jacksonville Main Street Hosts Successful Informational Meeting On Temporary Homeless Shelter

By Benjamin Cox on October 20, 2020 at 5:46pm

Jacksonville Main Street held an informational meeting yesterday afternoon for Downtown Area business owners at Hamilton’s concerning the location of a temporary homeless shelter. Main Street held the meeting seeking more information about the shelter possibly being located in the former Krush Time/Times Theater building on East State Street.

Executive Director Judy Tighe says that Jacksonville Police Chaplain Alan Bradish succinctly laid out his proposal for the location and provided answers to numerous details about how it will operate.

Tighe says about 30 people with stakes in the Downtown Area showed up and heard the presentation, which also included two representatives from the City of Jacksonville as well as the property owner: “It was a great chance for business owners to hear the whole proposal and not bits and pieces. Alan was great at laying out the who, what, where, why, and how about all of it. He answered a lot of questions and presented a lot of really valuable information with everyone. Again, he reiterated the need for a temporary homeless shelter, which really no one has argued. Everyone seemed very pleased with the information that he shared. The property owner was there and was able to talk. We had a couple of city officials there if anyone had any questions [about the city’s role]. [Ward 3 Alderman] Brandon Adams was there, as was [Community Development Director] Brian Nyberg. Everyone just really learned a lot and it was a great meeting.”

Tighe says that the room was limited in space due to COVID-19 restriction, so only one board member from Jacksonville Main Street was able to attend who is also a business owner in the Downtown Area. Tighe says that a board meeting will be held next week when they will discuss any endorsements of the project.

Tighe says that ultimately the decision lies with the City’s Plans Commission and the Jacksonville City Council on November 4th when they can decide whether or not to amend the city’s zoning ordinance to allow the shelter to be in the East State Street location. Currently, the entire Downtown Area is zoned as a Business-2 District, which does not allow residential dwellings on the ground floor of buildings. According to City Attorney Dan Beard, the zoning ordinance would, by approval of the city council, include an emergency clause for a temporary shelter for this winter only to allow as a “residential dwelling” on the ground floor of the East State Street property.

In the meantime, Tighe says that all parties involved in the planning of the shelter are still taking ideas and suggestions from the public about the temporary shelter.