MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The City of Madison plans to build a library and parks center to help connect the homeless community with more resources at Reindahl Park.
Current building plans do not include a facility for people to live, but Madison Public Library Digital Sales and Marketing Manager Tana Elias said the goal is to re-imagine how they can help northeast community members find permanent housing.
“It’s really an opportunity for people in this neighborhood to have a lot more community services and a lot more opportunity for community engagement than they have now,” Elias said. “We can offer a variety of services and connections but it’s really a bigger conversation to have for the whole city to have a coordinated approach to how we handle people who don’t have homes. Or are struggling to find long term housing.”
Dairy Drive Shelters Project Coordinator Brenda Konkel said she’s hopeful but skeptical that the project will help reduce homelessness.
“I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of promises that are going to happen that don’t end up happening,” Konkel said. “I do think that there’s a real opening here and a real opportunity for us to make this one of those places that is welcoming to everybody in our community.”
She hopes that Reindahl Park neighbors can use the new facility as a respectful learning opportunity.
“I think a lot of people just haven’t been in a situation where they’ve been able to have that type of experience,” she said. “If we’re lucky maybe the Imagination Center could be a place where things like that can happen. Maybe they’ll find some way to do programing or something that would start to build bridges between the us and them type of mentality that America is in.”
Elias said they plan to start building the Imagination Center in January 2023 and then open it by January 2024.
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