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I found it concerning when I read that the Jordan City Council members were drafting a letter of opposition to the proposal being studied regarding using the third floor of the regional training center to shelter some of the homeless in Scott County. For the council to oppose this potential use before it is even fully studied implies that they are rushing to a negative conclusion and don’t want to be bothered with the facts. The “concerns” that were put forth in the paper seemed to be misguided.

To question if someone with mental illness would be in this group is silly. They knew the answer to that question before it was asked — yes, there will be someone with a mental illness. That does not make them a danger to anyone. I can assure the council that there are current Jordan residents with mental illnesses who pose no threat to your community.

The comment by Goebel, “You put them all in the middle of nowhere with no services, no doctors, no transportation, no food, no nothing. It’s a horrible idea,“ demonstrates he was not paying attention. The county would not drop this group off with no one present to manage and provide services. And, Pam Selvig stated that the county would partner with a nonprofit organization to operate the shelter.

This facility has provided service to a wide range of people throughout its history. In the 1980s I served on Abbott Northwestern’s Foundation for Living Board when the facility was a detoxification and treatment center. In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, I managed the facility when it was a minimum-security correctional facility that housed offenders from both the county and the state prisons. These uses could have posed a much greater risk than a homeless shelter; but, not one time in more than two decades did they negatively impact the city of Jordan. I also led the effort to convert this facility into its current public safety training use — and done correctly the facility could potentially serve as both a shelter and a training center — the answer will be in the details.

Given the positive and collaborative relationship between the county and the City of Jordan, I would think the council could be a little more open-minded, wait for the details, and see what might develop. 

Gary Shelton 

Prior Lake 

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