CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte city leaders have said their vision for the North Tryon Street corridor is a family-friendly place with public art and decorative lighting. Construction is already underway.
Many in the community, including North Tryon business owners, say they thought that would involve moving the Men's Shelter of Charlotte. But a $5.7 million renovation of the shelter announced Wednesday means it's not likely to be moved any time soon.
"We've tried to look at other avenues, but the city has determined that this is where this is going to be," business owner Mark Middlesworth explained.
Local businesses lobbied for the center to be moved after dealing with years of panhandling, trespassing, and crime. But Middlesworth said Wednesday his best option is to support improvements at the local shelter.
"We're going to do everything to support it to make it a better place altogether," he said.
Middlesworth, who owns Extravaganza, said he's supportive, but skeptical about the City of Charlotte's plans.
Councilman Larken Egleston said he believes the city's investment will bring everyone up, including the homeless.
"It's not an either or. We need to create a city that allows for everybody to succeed and for everybody to have a safe place to call home," said Egleston.
Liz Clasen-Kelly, who runs the men's shelter says the renovation will take care of basic needs and then things like more windows, trees, private shower stalls, and new beds.
She said she believes a fresh building will mean a fresh start for the city's homeless and North Tryon.
"Obviously, they have dreams for North End; but we share those dreams," she said. "An atmosphere that makes people feel like, not that they've hit bottom, but this is where they start again."
The renovation is expected to take four months. The staff is asking for the public's help to provide meals for the homeless.
The 200 homeless will have to go to a temporary shelter at a location not being made public.
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