Mayor Kelly invited the community to come out and hear about the plan to rezone the Airport Inn from C-2 to UGC so they can turn it into a....well, no one seems to know what. Is it a homeless shelter, a mental health facility, an assisted living home, another "fleabag motel", an apartment complex, all we know for sure is "that is not this" and "this is not that" according to Mayor Kelly.
Carol Berz opened the presentation stating it would be an assisted living home. Then Mayor Kelly said it was going to be a place for homeless people to live, but is not a shelter or another "fleabag" motel like the ones next door. Then he passed the mic to Tod Lipka, the president and CEO of Step Up, who stated on a slide they are a mental health facility and then stated it's like any other apartment complex.
Mayor Kelly, which one is it exactly? Why can that simple question not be answered? And how do you plan to run it and screen the occupants? Who does the screening? What kind of oversight does the government have on the facility?
Step Up is a non-profit who should not have even been in the room as they will be in the bidding process on the RFP, yet Mr. Lipka was handed the mic to answer almost every question, because the city had no answers. Mr. Lipka did not even know the name of his one manager in the state of Tennessee, yet we are suppose to trust him with 70 of the city's most vulnerable?
The city is placing vulnerable residents next to a truck stop, two other fleabag motels known for drugs and prostitution, in a food desert, with no bus stop or sidewalks, no medical centers or pharmacies, and expect them to succeed? Why place it next to three schools?
Why did the city overpay by a million dollars for this site? Who is going to continue to fund this now that the COVID money is gone? Why add more spot zoning and give this a UGC zoning when it was created for urban areas and this is a suburban area? Why place it directly across the street from one of the mayor's business competitors? Why put an immigrant out of business after working for 20 years to move this into the area?
This plan has more questions than answers and I hope the City Council denies the UGC zoning, so this disaster of a project cannot move forward.