CARRBORO – Executive Director for the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Chris Moran says a plan 27-years in the making is about to make a small step in the right direction.
“We’re going to do what is considered a phase one part of the project where we will clear the land where eventual construction will take place in the second phase which will begin hopefully in the spring of 2014,” Moran says.
That constructed facility will be the IFC Community House, which will be a men’s residential facility that’s currently located in the old jail.
Moran says the Community House has received a lot of criticism over the years, mostly revolving around the people it will serve.
“It’s the whole controversy about ‘not in my neighborhood, not next to me’,” Moran says. “Moving homeless men in a facility that would be in a new location.”
He says part of that delay was fed by a lengthy legal process.
“There was a lawsuit against the Town and us saying that the Town did not follow its own legal procedures correctly, and a judge said that the Town did,” Moran says. “But, there was never a mention of it in the news media anywhere when that happened, which was surprising to me.”
Moran says in 2006, Congressman David Price secured $250,000 in Economic Development Incentive monies for this project, but it’s running out of time in which it can be used. After three or four thousand dollars was taken out for administrative purposes, 20 percent can be used for predevelopment costs like land clearing. That adds to the more than $600,000 that has already been spent on predevelopment. But, the remaining $198,000 has to be used before September, so it’s necessary to get the project underway.
In February, the United Way of the Greater Triangle cut funding to the IFC and what Moran says are other longstanding agencies and agencies of excellence. This is a story similar to what the Seymour Senior Center experienced as well.
“My view about that is that emergency shelters should be considered in what would be referred to as the safety net category, which it was not for any non-profit in the Triangle that gets United Way dollars,” Moran says.
He says if it had been, he doesn’t believe the cut would have taken place.
“Regardless of that, I think it was a real silly time for the United Way to bring in a number of new agencies when the fundraising increase was only one percent over the previous year,” Moran says.
Moran says despite the more-than-quarter-century delay and bumps along the way, it’s not going to get him or the IFC down.
“We’ve gone through a lot of pain and agony but are determined to get this project accomplished,” Moran says. “And we will.”
The Conditional Zoning Compliance Permit (ZCP) should be issued Friday or Monday if the IFC turns in a recorded offsite construction and easement plat and a temporary offsite construction agreement. The site will then be cleared, but will sit that way for six to nine months with protocols in place to minimize erosion. Clearing is likely to begin in August or September with construction beginning between March and May of 2014.