A unanimous decision by Douglas County commissioners Wednesday will authorize the execution of an offer to purchase land for the future home of a Public Works facility.
The property acquisition, which could eventually open the door for the Lawrence Community Shelter to relocate near the Douglas County Jail, 3601 E. 25th St., will provide the county with approximately 34 acres for new facilities.
The county plan also includes offers to purchase two pieces of property adjacent to the proposed future public works location.
The few residents who attended Wednesday night’s meeting and spoke their minds held varying opinions of the proposed move, voicing concerns for children in the area and potential future zoning restrictions as well as lauding the commission for its planning and direction.
Commissioner Jim Flory said the commission’s main goal with plans to purchase the land was to aid public works, discussions for which began more than a year ago.
“I felt convinced and comfortable that it was an offer to extend the complex out there in a meaningful way,” Flory said.
Resident Greg Robinson said he felt the decisions regarding the land acquisition and its relation to the future of the homeless shelter had been made behind closed doors.
“I’m dismayed by this, quite frankly,” he said.
Flory reminded those in attendance that the county’s plan to purchase the land does not guarantee the shelter will be able to relocate, as it still has its own hoops to jump through, including negotiating a contract for the purchase of its property. The county also does not assume ownership, financial or management responsibility for the shelter.
The issue will be brought back before the county commission if or when a contract for purchase of the public works property is reached.