The plan for a 35,000-square-foot homeless shelter in Sarasota County is moving forward, and local officials are planning to embark on a country-wide tour of homeless agencies and facilities.
Sarasota County has submitted the scope of work for feasibility studies of three sites within the city of Sarasota to engineering firm Cardno TBE for an estimate, according to a Jan. 6 email update from Assistant County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery to commissioners.
At a Nov. 26 joint meeting of the city and county commissions, three sites were identified as potential locations for a regional “come as you are” shelter for homeless adults. The proposed sites — located at 1330 N. Osprey Ave., 1800 East Ave. and 1121 Lewis Ave. — are all in the city’s District 1, between 10th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Way.
Homeless consultant Robert Marbut picked the city-owned property on Osprey Avenue as the preferred site. Commissioners approved environmental reviews of the three sites during the meeting, which included heated public comment.
Marbut and representatives from Sarasota County, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the Sarasota Police Department will travel to San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego from Jan. 13 through Jan. 18, to tour homeless shelters, systems and services, according to county spokeswoman Jamie Carson.
The county and city plan to extend Marbut's contract through February, and are exploring the possibility of keeping him through the opening of the facility, according to the email.