By Mary McGuire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — First, it was a jail. Next, a dormitory for seasonal workers at Valleyfair.

Now, there’s a proposal to turn it into something very different.

Scott County’s Health and Human Services Department has been exploring the possibility of turning 30 dorm rooms at the Regional Training Facility near Jordan into a temporary homeless shelter.

Currently, there aren’t any dedicated facilities in the county that serve the homeless.

“Just last month at one of our campgrounds … a family was living there because that was their last option,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen.

He says he supports the plan, but admits a lot of work needs to be done before it could become reality.

“Is it a perfect idea? No. We are at a training facility. There are law enforcement, fire personnel coming in and out of here,” said Sheriff Hennen.

The location of the dormitory has been a source of opposition. At their meeting on Monday, some Jordan city council members voiced their concerns.

“Having 30 families there is obviously going to create a lot more burden, a lot more issues for us, a lot more [emergency] calls for us,” said one council member.

“It feels like you could just be putting a lot of people into our community and it’s not necessarily the greatest location for it,” said another member.

The idea is simply a concept right now. There are no concrete plans in place. If and when that time comes, the board at the Regional Training Facility would have final approval of the plan.

Scott County would not run the proposed homeless shelter. It would look for another vendor or nonprofit to operate the facility.

Mary McGuire

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