JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Sulzbacher Center says that for the past three years, it’s been in talks with the city about relocating its facility, which is currently in Downtown Jacksonville.
City Councilman Garrett Dennis said that he was approached Tuesday by the homeless shelter in regard to it, saying it was his first time discussing potentially moving the center into his district, which includes parts of the Westside and Northwest Jacksonville.
“Someone from Sulzbacher wanted to go over the plans on moving or relocating the Sulzbacher Center to the Fairfax Street old wood treaters facility,” Dennis said. “Yesterday was my first day learning about it and I was a bit taken back.”
Cindy Funkhouser, Sulzbacher’s president and CEO, said in an email that the city and Sulzbacher have been searching for an appropriate property for awhile. News4Jax asked if there had been a conversation about the site being relocated to Fairfax Street, and Funkhouser responded:
“We have and continue to vet properties all the time, none of them has been secured.”
Dennis said Sulzbacher representatives told him that legislation could come to light in July.
Meanwhile, he said he plans to host community meetings within his district to see how residents feel about the center possibly moving there. He noted that the potential spot would be a couple of blocks from Edward Waters College and near two elementary schools.
“We need to have conversations before a homeless shelter, or before that property is developed,” Dennis said.
Funkhouser says the current location is in a floodplain and that in the past, they’ve had to evacuate the campus. News4Jax has learned the lease will be up on that location in five years.
Dennis said he plans to host the community meetings within the next two weeks.