Military reserve center at Greenfield Lake would become transitional housing for homeless (updated) is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

An appropriation from the city to cover demolition costs at an old surplus military facility between Greenfield Lake and Legion Stadium would make way for a plan to redevelop the site for “supportive permanent transitional” housing for the homeless.

Wilmington City Council tonight will consider approving $40,000 to cover the bill for razing the existing structures at 2144 W. Lake Shore Drive, the Adrian B. Rhodes Armed Forces Reserve Center. Information accompanying the request notes the city put aside $70,000 previously, but the demolition bids came in higher than expected.

The Rhodes Center. Photo by Ben Brown.
The vacated Rhodes Center. Photo by Ben Brown.

“The city is required to demolish the building to make way for Lakeside Partners’ future development of 24 transitional housing units for the homeless,” says the city’s communications office. Associated information describes Lakeside Partners as a “local consortium of providers whose mission is to serve the homeless population of our region.” It is a collaboration of Good Shepherd Ministries, Wilmington Housing Finance and Development and the Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network.

The City of Wilmington’s role is as the federally recognized “local redevelopment authority” handing the property off to the proper party.

Federal requirements of the plan are per the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act (BCCRHA) of 1994, “designed to accommodate the impacted communities’ multiple interests in base reuse and to meet the national priority to assist homeless individuals and families,” program literature states.

“Since military bases often contain a significant number of housing units, warehouses, office space, and other buildings that can be excellent locations for homeless services and housing, base closures can be a great resource for providers,” says the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

The Rhodes Center was first built in 1955, expanded in 1976 and today consists of three buildings–the largest the 22,581-square-foot administration and training facility–along with a vehicle wash rack all on 4-plus acres of land.

The property is bounded on the south and east by Legion Stadium, on the north by Greenfield Lake and on the west by the Woodlawn subdivision.

A 2010 agreement between the city and Lakeside described a layout of residential design to include two single-story duplexes of permanent supportive housing for families with children; two two-story quadriplexes of permanent supportive housing for individuals and a unit for live-in support staff; three two-story quadriplexes (two with one bedroom per unit, one with two bedrooms per unit) for individuals and a unit for live-in support staff; and a single-story building for shared office space, common space, laundry facilities and storage.

A 2006 writeup on a version of the plan noted the property is not far from public transportation routes and offices of the Department of Social Services, the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Wilmington Housing Authority and the Social Security Administration.

The current effort follows an initial one from the city to see the site used by Girls Inc., Elderhaus Inc. and the city’s parks and recreation department. The federal government rejected that plan per BCCRHA.

The city council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the chambers at Wilmington City Hall, 102 N. Third St.

Click here for the full agenda.

Check back after tonight’s meeting for additional details.