Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Members of Rochester’s Eastside Neighborhood Association and local leaders are set to meet tonight to discuss plans regarding a replacement for the Rochester Community Warming Center. 

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Officials from Olmsted County and the City of Rochester announced plans Tuesday to move the downtown emergency shelter to the eastside neighborhood. The city’s new shelter could house roughly 80 people and offer them services that officials say will help combat homelessness in the community. 

Rochester City Councilmember Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick was on hand for the announcement. The proposed new location for the warming center and emergency shelter is the Old Towne Hall building, which is in the ward she represents. 

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Kirkpatrick said several neighbors have reached out to her regarding the county’s proposal. “I appreciate the county reaching out to the neighborhood association, however I think it was a little delayed. I wish someone could have come forward prior to give us a heads up. I was basically the warning system for the neighborhood.” 

Front of Old Towne Hall. TSM Rochester/Preston
Front of Old Towne Hall. TSM Rochester/Preston
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She also said she has faith in the neighborhood stepping up to help act as a solution to the community’s homelessness issue, saying many residents of the east end neighborhood can understand the dilemma of homelessness. She’s encouraging residents of the neighborhood to attend Thursday's meeting and share their thoughts on the proposal. 

Kirkpatrick. City of Rochester
Kirkpatrick. City of Rochester
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“I trust that the county will listen to that and put as many of those bullet points that the neighbors can give to the county in place for folks to feel safe,” she said. “It’s not just the homeless that deserves safe housing, everyone deserves safe housing.” 

A Facebook post from the neighborhood association indicates they have not taken an official stance on the proposed shelter’s location. The association did echo Kirkpatrick’s comment regarding a lack of notice about the announcement. 

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. The Boys and Girls Club of Rochester is located at 1062 East Center St.

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