The city of Durango is still searching for a suitable location for a permanent homeless camp, and Bodo Industrial Park might be the next place to look.
A permanent site, designed to be a transitional housing camp, was proposed for a location near Greenmount Cemetery. When residents and other stakeholders outspokenly opposed the idea this summer, City Council directed staff members to search for alternatives. But city staff has already done that multiple times.
“Quite frankly, we have exhausted every site,” said Kevin Hall, assistant city manager, in an interview after City Council discussed the camp during a study session Tuesday. “(Everything) that we’ve tried does not work out for whatever reason.”
The city is exploring multiple city land parcels around the outside edges of Bodo Industrial Park’s southern end. The permanent camp, proposed by a community group, Neighbors in Need Alliance, would offer a managed, safe housing option for people transitioning from low-barrier camps to supportive housing complexes.
But the Bodo option is far from a done deal: City staff members need to talk to nearby businesses, such as Coca Cola Durango, Ska Brewing Co. and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The landscape needs to be evaluated for feasibility, and there are covenants and restrictions for Bodo park that need to considered, Hall said.
“I can’t tell you that this is the perfect site, it’s just another site we’re looking at,” he said.
The site would not serve as an alternative to the heavily debated, low-barrier camp at Purple Cliffs on La Posta Road (County Road 213).
La Plata County is pressuring the city to move the camp, which houses about 60 people, onto city land. Meanwhile, community groups and camp residents want to keep the current location, which was originally intended to be a temporary site.
Hall said the city does not have good alternatives for Purple Cliffs.
“What should be happening is we should be finding brick-and-mortar homes for people. The vast majority would probably welcome that,” he said.