The Reno City Council agreed yesterday to consider a five-acre parcel of land on Sage Street located just off Fourth Street for a new overflow homeless shelter. The building will house individuals overnight when other shelters in the area are full.
The move comes after two years of discussion and debate on where to put the new facility. Previous attempts to pick a site have fallen through, and city leaders have been wary of relying on private land.
And while the vote was unanimous, council members Jenny Brekhus and Oscar Delgado expressed concerns.
For Brekhus, the proposed site may interfere with revitalization efforts. Delgado questions whether the land is safe for use.
"So we're starting off already with a 'sketchy parcel' which [is] already somewhat questionable in terms of its adjacency to the railroad track, its adjacency to the waste management, its adjacency to other blighted motels that we know we're dealing with. What does that say for us?"
But Councilwoman Neoma Jardon says the city cannot continue to delay the construction.
"We're two years into this discussion and we are no further along," says Jardon. "I would just say that if we go back out and try to find another piece of land, I would remind everybody of the struggles we have to approve housing projects. Go ahead and imagine the struggles we will have in approving overflow or other shelter sites."
Wednesday's result is only the first step. The city will need a full environmental workup on the site in addition to finding the funds to build. Leaders are hoping to explore possible partnerships with groups willing to split the costs for the project.