[Hpn] Mega-Shelter Mediation in Colorado Springs
Wed, 30 Aug 2000 09:21:14 -0400 (EDT)
The following is in our local daily paper. The neighbors, having been
confirmed in their asertion that this is un-needed and just too damn big by
the Planning Commission (5 to 1 vote), are VERY suspicious at this point. So
am I, the Red Cross and El Pomar Foundation have yet to discuss why the
enthusiasm for this one narrow model to help our homeless population (that we
count in the hundreds) There are many ways to effectively assist this
population without creating such an imposing facility. We also have yet to
see a needs study for this monster.
Matt Parkhouse, RN; Colorado Springs, CO
Red Cross wants mediator
Neighbors willing to continue homeless center talks
By Eric Gorski/The Gazette
The American Red Cross wants to bring in a professional mediator in another
attempt to negotiate with opponents of the agency's proposal to build a
one-stop social services center for the homeless.
The Red Cross has asked neighbors who oppose putting the building in a south
downtown neighborhood whether they'd be willing to sit down for a new round
of talks with a third party: a representative of Judicial Arbiter Group Inc.
The firm, which is based in Denver and has a Colorado Springs office, employs
former judges who charge between $200 and $260 an hour to provide
arbitration, mediation and conflict resolution.
The gesture was in response to neighbors' willingness to continue discussions
after the city Planning Commission voted Aug. 3 against allowing the $6
million project near Mill and Conejos streets, said Sarah Jack, chairwoman of
the Red Cross board of directors.
The City Council will consider the project Nov. 14. The project organizers,
neighbors and city planning staff met almost weekly for months hashing out
"We want to work with neighbors," Jack said Tuesday. "We want to allay their
fears and meet their needs and concerns."
Jack said the Red Cross is seeking "an impartial third party" to pay for the
mediator to avoid any appearance of the mediator being swayed by who pays the
Pam Perry, president of the Mill Street Neighborhood Association, said
residents plan to discuss the mediator proposal tonight. The Red Cross asked
the neighbors to make a decision by Tuesday.
It's uncertain whether more discussion will change the debate - or whether
either side will make concessions at this point.
Neighbors argue that bringing as many as 500 people a day into the
neighborhood - as the project would - poses too many safety and traffic
issues. Project organizers, including the El Pomar Foundation, which has
pledged $5 million, say they've made many concessions but draw the line at
scrapping a soup kitchen and other neighborhood demands.
As it stands, the neighborhood still is opposed but is open to discussing
alternatives, Perry said.
"We've always said we've been open to dialogue about the problem of
homelessness and homeless people," she said.