Updated March 14, 2012 — Kent Downtown Partnership and Kent Chamber of Commerce are hosting a community forum for area businesses to hear from Kent Hope and Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and to voice their support and/or concerns about the proposed location of the shelter. The business event will be held Wed., Mar. 13 at ShoWare Center from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, call KDP at 253-813-6976.
In recent weeks, the City of Kent has restarted a discussion on how to best use the vacant Resource Center on the corner of 3rd and East Meeker in downtown Kent. The issue was discussed in 2011 but a citizen’s panel did not believe any proposals submitted were viable options. The City is looking at the issue again.
This time the idea of a homeless shelter has been proposed. While there is no question that homelessness is an important issue in our community, several issues need to be carefully considered. Is a homeless shelter the best use of the Resource Center? Is this location the best spot in Kent for a homeless shelter? How would it impact downtown residents and businesses? In addition, with the city’s budget so tight, does Kent have the funds to renovate, maintain and run the building? If not, is an organization like the Union Gospel Mission who has been named as a potential resource the best option for operating the building? Who will pay for the project?
The potential use of the Resource Center as a homeless shelter has been spurring discussions throughout downtown at local organizations like the Kent Chamber, the Kent City Council and the Kent Downtown Partnership. I encourage you to visit the links below to educate yourself on the City’s options and to respond with your comments here. I also encourage you to contact your city council members to share your thoughts. As residents and business owners, we need to make our voices heard.
Dana Neuts, owner/publisher
In the interest of full disclosure, my business is located on Kent’s East Hill. However, I am a member of the Kent Chamber and I serve as the Interim Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Kent Downtown Partnership.