It’s unclear what kind of outreach deputy mayor Darryl Smith did in the neighborhood in advance of today’s official announcement at the site at noon. (For what it's worth, most residents reportedly support the site.) Contacted by phone this morning, McGinn spokeswoman Katherine Schubert-Knapp would not describe any specific outreach. The only communication the mayor's office appears to have made to Lake City residents in general is a three-paragraph letter sent out today, which reads,
Dear Lake City residents,
I am writing to let you know that the vacated former Fire Station 39 will be made available as shelter for the camp known as Nickelsville for a period of 4-6 months.
This winter could be unusually wet and cold, and during a time of economic hardship and limited resources, it is incumbent upon the City to make use of resources such as the former fire station with creativity and compassion.
The building is located next to the brand new Fire Station 39, and will provide security and warm showers for Nickelsville's campers. Kyle Joyce, a property manager from the City’s Department of Fleets and Administrative Services, has been assigned to oversee the facility while it is being used for this purpose. The City will keep residents informed about the old station, but it is our hope that the temporary use by Nickelsville will be met with understanding.
Although a panel appointed to come up with guidelines for a semi-permanent encampment explicitly recommended that "the location of an encampment should also take into consideration the possible impact to the surrounding community" and that the city "should ensure that neighbors are provided appropriate notice of and have an opportunity to comment," those recommendations only apply to a semipermanent site. Still, Nickelsville's three-month relocation to the University District, for example, was at least announced several days before the move.
We would ask deputy mayor Smith about his outreach to Lake City residents, but his press outreach also leaves something to be desired: Schubert-Knapp sent out notice that Smith would be appearing in north Lake City just 28 minutes before the noon press conference.