The Shakopee City Council and Scott County Board held a joint meeting last week where officials discussed the Family Resource Center’s future in the Shakopee Library branch.
After discussion at the July 12 meeting, the county board advised staff to start drafting a proposal to move the center to the Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee.
For several months, the Family Resource Center of Scott County has offered a variety of human services and resources out of the library building.
The FRC connects people to services that include early literacy and education programs, financial literacy classes, parenting support programs, domestic violence advocacy and legal information. The centers also provide services supporting Latino and Somali communities.
According to the county website, FRCs are currently held at the Savage Library and Jordan Area Food Shelf in addition to the Shakopee Library.
The city and county have gone back and forth in recent months on what types of services should be allowed at the library building. While the city owns the building, the county handles the library’s operations.
City councilors have advocated for the building to host literacy and education-related library services, with human services being run out of a different location or county building.
“It’s a little bit miscategorized … the programs themselves are not the issue. The programs are great. They serve the community well. It’s where they’re stationed — it’s a library,” Councilor Jay Whiting said at the meeting.
The city created and approved a new license agreement in May that would specify the allowed services offered at the library. These focused on literacy and educational services like access to books, literacy classes and computer and technology services.
According to a city memo, the council passed this agreement but the county had “declined to participate.”
Some county staff have argued that the library worked as a helpful location for people accessing FRC services.
“When you do research on family resource centers, finding places like libraries — which are normally welcoming places for most people to feel comfortable — it’s one of those reasons those tend to be successful,” County Administrator Lezlie Vermillion said.
Discussing relocation of the services, the Marschall Road Transit Station has regularly been considered as an option. With the bus service and upcoming Highway 169 pedestrian bridge, Councilor Angelica Contreras said she finds the transit station to be an accessible spot for people to receive services.
“The location to me is perfect because we do have that bus service to get us, and we have worked on the path, the walkway over the bridge to get us here. To me, that’s a way better location,” she said.
The city is now awaiting a proposal from the county regarding this move. Commissioner Mike Beard said at the meeting that a realistic timeline could see the FRC moving to the transit station sometime early next year.
“FRC has got to be there probably through the first quarter, into the first quarter, but we are making plans to move it to the Marschall Road Transit Station,” he said.
“This will allow even more ease of access and connection for the residents that use FRC services,” Mayor Bill Mars said in an emailed response to Southwest News Media. “Our partnership and collaboration is a win-win for Scott County residents.”