Residents in a wooded area on the west side of Akron said they are fearful of the 68-unit homeless and disabled housing complex slated to be built across the street.
The $11.3 million project calls for a four-story facility to be built on four acres of wooded land near the intersection of Vernon Odom Blvd. and Romig Road.
The facility, known as Stoney Pointe Commons, will offer supportive and medical services that will be available on site.
Neighbors who live behind the site and directly across the street told News 5 they are very concerned that the new population will disrupt their private and peaceful community.
“It’s a beautiful spot I picked this home for many reasons but those reason will soon be gone,” said neighbor Glen Auvil who said he recently moved to his dream home and used up his life savings.
“I’m simply just horrified,” he said.
Tober Building Company and the non-profit Community Support Services are partnering to complete the project.
Keith Stahl, Director of Residential Services for Community Support Services told News 5 that the new facility is the result of a desperate need for more homeless housing.
“There’s a tremendous, tremendous need for this type of housing people need opportunity,” said Stahl, who noted that there’s a 1000-person waiting list for their other Akron facility, the Commons at Madeline Park.
At the new site, neighbors said they want to help the homeless, but they don’t believe their neighborhood has the proper amenities.
“I agree that the homeless need help. We need to help them but we need to find a better place for them. There’s nothing for them on this hill,” Auvil said.
The project developers said they understand the concerns from neighbors about such a big change.
“We understand that that’s going to be a hard process and that’s something that’s going to take time over time. We believe that they will see that this is a value add to the community,” he said.
Neighbors like Danny Crum said they can’t see the community benefits and worry that their property values will be affected.
“A lot of people in this area, like me, they’re old they can’t afford this,” Crum said.
Crum said they also worry about the safety of the neighborhood after hearing negative stories from neighbors near the Commons at Madeline Park.
Stahl said the developers are making safety concerns a priority.
“We are going to actively promote safety, that’s why we will have security cameras. We will know what’s going on, we will report crimes that we see and we will hold residents accountable if they’re doing something they’re not supposed to,” he said.
The project is currently slated to break ground in March and will take about a year to complete.
The group of neighbors said they are still exploring their legal options.