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Lamar Elementary plans draw mixed reaction from neighborhood

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 19:42:43-05

CORPUS CHRISTI — When the city council meets next on December 10th, it will consider a proposal to allow the old Lamar Elementary School to become the new home of the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission.

“Our team is already helping the Good Sam and the potential re-purposing of Lamar Elementary School,” said City Manager Peter Zanoni at a Nov. 15th press conference introducing the city’s new Homeless and Affordable Housing Division.

Zanoni and his staff are moving forward despite the city’s planning commission recommending against re-zoning the school so that it can be used as a shelter.

People living in the neighborhood around Lamar Elementary have mixed feelings. Most would have preferred the building stay a school. While many agree a new shelter is a good thing, they're worried about safety.

“There's children, there's schools around here,” said James Schmidt, who used to live in the neighborhood near Lamar Elementary

Schmidt is now homeless but believes converting Lamar Elementary into a shelter would help the down and out get back on their feet.

“It's a wonderful thing because that would give a lot of people a lot of hope, give them a lot of jobs, and open up opportunities for people who don't get opportunities,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt hopes to be off the streets by the time the shelter opens, if it opens. However, if he's not, he plans to use it.

“I would like to do whatever programs that they would offer me,” said Schmidt. “I would go 100% with everything because I want to do nothing but better myself.:

The Ed Rachal foundation has already started the process of preparing the building for conversion and all of the asbestos has been removed from it. If the city council approves the re-zoning, the preparation work is expected to shift into high gear early next year.