It was a long shot at best, and now, a proposed alternative site for a Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo may be off the table altogether. As reported in Wednesdays Tribune, an unidentified buyer has submitted a letter of intent to purchase the vacant, 9-acre parcel at 40 Prado Road.
If the sale goes through, that will leave a county-owned parcel on South Higuera Street, next to the Department of Social Services, as the only viable candidate for a new homeless shelter.
If the deal falls through, let this serve as a warning: The Prado Road property wont be available forever.
If the community truly supports that location over South Higuera Street, then its time to pool our resources and, at the very least, help finance an engineering study to determine whether a shelter would be feasible there.
That said, we continue to believe the South Higuera Street site is the more logical location for a shelter it has the necessary approvals from the city and Airport Land Use Commission; the land is available for lease at little or no cost; and the state has awarded a $1 million grant to build a shelter at that location.
However, the South Higuera parcel has generated so much opposition from neighboring business owners that weve gone along with the idea of taking a closer look at 40 Prado Road.
But heres our concern: If CAPSLO is having trouble raising the $80,000 to $100,000 needed for an engineering study of the Prado Road site, whats the likelihood it will be able to raise the estimated $2 million needed to purchase the property, on top of construction costs?
Given those obstacles, the sale of the Prado Road parcel may be a blessing in disguise, if it moves the shelter project forward.
If the sale falls through, we strongly urge CAPSLO to set a deadline say, six months to raise funds for the engineering study for 40 Prado Road.
As weve said many times before, a homeless shelter will generate controversy no matter where its proposed.
Its time past time to stop stalling, choose a location and launch a capital campaign.