Little progress in plan to convert former prison to homeless shelter
The city of Gainesville is in the process of purchasing the former Gainesville Correctional Institution and converting it into a homeless shelter and social services center.
The city’s chosen site for the Grace Marketplace, as the shelter would be known, is an undeveloped property near Northwest 53rd Avenue. But District 2 City Commissioner Todd Chase said the prison has not been purchased yet.
“There’s no problems that I’m aware of really,” Chase said. “It’s just a process that takes a little bit of time.”
The purpose of the shelter would be providing services not only for the homeless but those in need throughout the community, Chase said. The city would provide food, educational services and safe places to sleep.
Chase said the next couple of commission meetings will involve a review of property appraisals and values.
“What I’d like to see is that this thing improves as quickly as possible,” Chase said. “We could potentially be offering initial services to the homeless by fall.”
Rachel Crosby wrote this story online.
More Stories in Local
The Alachua County Energy Management team will be upgrading lights in all county-owned building parking lots to light-emitting diode (LED). The county estimates the new update will save the county a total of $10,000 annually on electricity bills.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office came before the board of commissioners to request additional funds at the Alachua County Commission meeting Tuesday. The Sheriff’s Office asked for $970,000 for replacement vehicles and a 3 percent salary increase for servicemen and women. A motion to allocate $500,000 was passed 4-1.
The S Main Street northbound lane closed on Nov. 10 for construction at its intersection with Depot Avenue. The construction proved to be an inconvenience for motorists, business owners and residents alike.
Gainesville High School received a bomb threat and subsequently evacuated all students and staff to a nearby Planet Fitness parking lot on Wednesday. GHS received two additional, identical threats Thursday morning, but the school has not been evacuated.
Homeless individuals in Alachua County find ways to cope with the cold weather. Some choose to sleep inside at shelters like Grace Marketplace, while others prefer to stay outside with their possessions, rely on friendship to stay warm.