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Dane County eyes new site for homeless day shelter

Published On: Oct 11 2012 07:47:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 11 2012 09:59:38 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Dane County leaders are looking at a new site that could serve as a homeless day shelter.

The county is investigating the old Lussier Teen Center on East Washington Avenue as a possible site. The site is located near the former Don Miller auto dealership property, which was used as a day shelter last winter.

On Wednesday night, residents on Madison's east side sharply criticized the county's plan for a homeless day shelter at a property on Wright Street.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the new location was recently discovered and could be a good option.

"I think ultimately we want to know what the community thinks and to see what strikes the best balance. The East Washington (Avenue) site does have the advantage of being closer to downtown, there's not as much residential development down there, so that's a plus for it," Parisi said.

The homeless usually pass their time on the Capitol Square in downtown Madison. If the homeless shelter was located on Wright Street, vans would transport the homeless to the shelter from downtown.

Dane County Supervisor Paul Rusk proposed the new location. He said what's great about the East Washington Avenue location is that it doesn't need city approval for re-zoning.

For that reason, he said that would make it much easier to open the shelter by their target date of Nov. 1.

Parisi said county leaders will weigh both options and will work with the neighborhoods to pick a location that's best for everyone.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, who has been against a day shelter within city limits, said "We are looking at the county's proposals for each site."

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