TURLOCK -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider building a temporary cold weather homeless shelter near the wastewater treatment facility on South Walnut Road.
In April, the council voted to sell the building at 400 B St. that served as a shelter the last four years, but said some kind of emergency housing should be in place for the coming winter.
About two dozen people -- from California State University, Stanislaus, professors to the Turlock Gospel Mission -- met regularly the last few weeks, surveyed available land and decided on the South Walnut site next door to Kelso's Auto Wrecking.
The land is owned by the city's water and sewer utility fund and has long been eyed as future expansion space for the waste- water treatment plant or corporation yard where city trucks and equipment are stored.
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A separate group of citizens, spearheaded by the Center for Public Policy at Cal State Stanislaus, is working on a long-term homeless plan that will likely recommend a place for a permanent, year-round homeless shelter. When that shelter is built, or in two years, whichever comes first, the temporary cold weather shelter building on South Walnut would be turned over to the Municipal Services Department, said Assistant City Manager John French.
City work crews could use the lockers, bathrooms and showers as well as more warehouse space, French said.
Estimates put the building cost at $1.7 million, to be paid for with redevelopment money. The enterprise fund, which pools waste-water and water services money, would buy the building and land back if it reverts to a Municipal Services property in coming years.
"Being a temporary facility, it will fall back under ownership of the enterprise fund, and the design is to incorporate as much of that into the building as possible," said Municipal Services Director Dan Madden. "We're not going to build just what's needed for a homeless shelter."
Building from scratch and having the doors open for the homeless on Dec. 1 makes for an aggressive schedule. Without bid, the city asked WLC Architects of Rancho Cucamonga, also designing the new public safety center on Broadway Avenue, to come up with a building plan and cost estimate. If the council approves the plan Tuesday and design work can begin June 1, phase one should be completed by Dec. 1 and the homeless can move in.
Bee staff writer Michael R. Shea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2391.