Some Durham residents are concerned about a process that could bring homeless services to a shuttered U.S. Army Reserve Center near their changing neighborhood.
Shannon Mallery, who lives in the Morehead Hill neighborhood, told the Durham City Council last week that she and her neighbors were concerned about information indicating that the four buildings totaling 24,724 square feet at 1228 Carroll St. could be used for homeless services. Mallery said she and her neighbors would like to be part of the process to determine what happens to the property.
“We would like to have something there that is in line with our residential neighborhood. We would like the city to consider ways that they could be involved with this process to help us have something in our community that would benefit the residents there and benefit Durham as whole,” she said. “We a have a number of young families there, young couples as well as senior citizens.”
The concerns follow a Dec. 23 federal notice indicating the vacant Army Reserve Center and the more than five acres its sits on had been declared surplus property, making it eligible for programs that allow the federal government to give, sell or lease it to a local government or organization to provide certain community services. The programs prioritize proposals that serve homeless people. The property is at the intersection of Carroll Street and Lakewood Avenue.
Organizations interested in providing homeless services have 60 days from Dec. 23 to submit a letter of intent. Other organizations have 30 days from that date. Eligible uses include general public purposes, corrections, law enforcement, emergency management, public health and research, and public recreation.
Efforts to reach a spokesman for the U.S. General Services Administration for comment were unsuccessful.
Deputy City Manager Keith Chadwell said city officials are reviewing the information to determine whether they want to apply and better understand the requirements and what the property could be used for, along with zoning and land-use requirements.
“There are a lot of things that just have to be sorted through with this,” Chadwell said.
Mallery said she hopes the future use brings something positive to the area. She pointed out recent improvements in the area such as a new Lyon Park playground, Morehead Montessori Magnet School, along new residents moving into the area and “helping that part of Durham become the best of what Durham can be.”
Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden, who is City Council liaison for the Homeless Services Advisory Board, said the city hasn’t made a decision yet.
“It’s just correspondence. So be not dismayed, we are on it,” Cole-McFadden told Mallery. “You will be a part of the discussion from the city side.”