Business owners concerned about Carbondale warming centers - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Business owners concerned about Carbondale warming centers

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Within the next week, people in Carbondale will have another place to keep warm at night, but some residents and business owners are upset about the idea of a new warming center in their neighborhood. 

Carbondale City Council voted Tuesday night to issue a zoning certificate for a temporary warming center at 800 E. Main Street. 

Two trailers will be located right next to Hunan Chinese Restaurant. Co-owner of Hunan David Kuan says he isn't happy about the warming center being his neighbor. 

"What we are questioning is the location," Kuan said. "We have so many areas and places in the city, have they all been explored?"

Mayor Mike Henry says the coalition of civic groups and churches involved in opening the temporary shelter, have done with research and 800 E. Main Street was the best fit. 

"Much of the property the city owns is too close to a daycare center and it's too close to park," Henry said. "We can't house homeless people there because there may be sex offenders among them."

The groups have raised more than $7,500 to open the temporary shelter through the winter season.

Kuan isn't the only business owner against the idea. Mike Wright owns a shopping center near the proposed warming center and 

"The city owns lands all over the city and I would think that there would be plenty of places," Wright said. "I would even help you find one."

Council member Carolin Harvey says this is an issues that's not going away anytime soon. 

"We need to address it, and it needs to be address now," Harvey said. 

Council member Adam Loos was also on board of the temporary warming center. 

"To put the annoyance of a handful of business owners above human needs of actually people is just outrageous," Loos said. 

The two trailers will be able to house 24 people will offer snacks, breakfast and cots for people to sleep on. 

Resident Deborah Burress also spoke at Tuesday night's meeting, saying this location could affect people driving down Main Street into Carbondale. 

"So a parade of carts, or push carts, or whatever they have with them will be going up and down the street at 8 o'clock in the morning when people are driving into Carbondale," Burress said. 

Kuan says the idea of a warming shelter during the winter is a good idea, but wishes it wasn't next store to his business. 

"I feel like there is a need for a warming center, but I also need to do things from a business standpoint," Kuan said. 

Carbondale Public Relations Officer Amy Fox says the trailer should be in place and ready for use by the end of next week.

The center will be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. through the end of March. 

If you would like to donate to the warming centers, click here

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