Neighbors of a facility that will eventually become part of the Georgia Works! program are voicing their concerns, while the coordinator of the program is attempting to ease those concerns.
Beverly Nordholz is among the neighbors taking issue with Georgia Works! taking over the old Regional Youth Detention Center on Vine Street, citing concerns of criminals roaming the streets or drug activity working its way into the area.
Georgia Works! worked out a lease with the Hall County Government to take over the building for $1 per year for 25 years, on the basis that Georgia Works!, at its own expense, would renovate the facility and move its 6,000 boxes of government records, which date back to the 1840s.
The lease never went before Hall County commissioners because it did not require the property to be rezoned. Such a work program is already allowed under its current zoning.
"Our concern is that this was a done deal before anyone in the neighborhood found out about it," said Nordholz.
"They've (Hall County) leased it to someone that's putting in some kind of work rehabilitation program. That's what they're calling it, but it's a homeless shelter."
Doug Hanson, the coordinator for Georgia Works! local arm, called North Georgia Works, refuted that claim.
"It's not a homeless shelter," said Hanson.
"There are a number of intake processes we have. First of all, to respect the location of the facility, we demanded that we not have a single intake at that facility."
Anyone looking to join the program would have to go to the North Georgia Works office on Oak Street, and if approved, they would then be shuttled to the Vine Street facility, where they will live in the on-site dormitories and get shuttled to and from work each day.
The men in the program must submit to background checks and regular drug screenings; violent criminals and sex offenders are not admitted to the program.
Nordholz, who is helping organize a neighborhood meeting to speak out against the development, said she did not feel that the restrictions were tight enough.
"I would like to see that they find a place that is not in a residential neighborhood to put the facility. I think it's a great idea. I just don't think it belongs where there are homeowners, elderly people like me (and) children," said Nordholz.
The community meeting will be held Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. at the Lakeview Academy cafeteria. Nordholz said Lakeview is not involved in the discussion, but offered its cafeteria as a meeting space.