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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
tenney nursery

Area residents worry about the proposed center's proximity to places like the Tenney Nursery and Parent Center. 

Residents question location of homeless resource center

Residents of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood have expressed concerns over an accepted offer to purchase a property on the 1300 block of East Washington Avenue to open a permanent day shelter for the homeless.

After years of searching for a suitable site, the announcement encouraged homeless advocates. However, area residents have questioned its proximity to a day care, residences and Lapham Elementary School, located two blocks away.

During a “Chat with Chief Koval” forum on Thursday, Mike Ryanjoy, a resident of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, questioned Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval about the decision to accept the offer without consulting residents and business owners in the area.

“It skips over a lot of process that could have taken place, built social trust and engaged people to think more creatively,” Ryanjoy said, whose daughter attends Tenney Nursery and Parent Center. “But that didn’t happen.”

When asked whether or not Koval approved of the purchase, Koval mentioned no one had made the public safety implications aware to him, and he had not been consulted or asked yet to begin security planning.

Koval explained the location was the most appropriate for a permanent homeless shelter in the Central District area.  He said other buildings of similar size and magnitude were too far away from downtown to be useful to the homeless community, who sometimes struggle to find transportation.

“However, we might as well acknowledge the elephant in the room.” Koval said. “I have no doubt that when you have a center for that purported purpose, it’s going to get calls for police service. I think as a constituent you have every right to ask these questions. It disheartens me to hear that people weren’t included in the process.”

The first public meeting on this issue will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the site of the property.

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