Plans for sheltered campground on Dairy Drive moving at ‘hyper speed’ to beat cold weather

Construction Underway On Homeless Shelter Campground

MADISON, Wis. —  The City of Madison is just weeks away from opening a sheltered campground to house dozens of people currently living in tents at Reindahl Park.

Public Information Officer for the City of Madison Engineering Division Hannah Mohelnitzky said the project has been moving at hyper speed to beat the cold weather.

“We are building quickly and efficiently and we are getting it done on time,” Mohelnitzky said. “That’s the most important because we know people really need this.”

RELATED: Common Council approves proposal to move Reindahl Park encampment

30 different tiny homes, each 8×8 will fill the property, offering electricity and most importantly heat. As for bathrooms and showers those will be in a separate building on the property.

“These units are not luxurious,” she said. “They are for necessity, they are to make sure that people are safe and healthy and warm before the winter.”

The new space also comes with an operation plan and an onsite manager who will provide assistance to people living in the space.

Community Development Director Jim O’keefe said he hopes this will offer more structure.

RELATED: Reindahl Park houseless campers can stay for now while City weighs legal options

“The lack of management and any kind of control over the footprint of the encampment at Reindahl and the numbers of people using it have really contributed to some of the difficulties that we’ve experienced,” he said.

O’Keefe also said he understands the new location has gotten mixed reviews from many at Reindahl Park but he hopes to address some of those concerns in the coming weeks–namely making accommodations for transportation.

To fill those 30 units on Dairy Drive, city employees will be conducting assessments, as early as this week, to determine who they expect to be most successful at the new campground. 

“We may need to make some difficult decisions about who we ask to go where,” said O’Keefe. “This location might not work for everybody.”

For the 30 people chosen to go to the sheltered campground move in could be as early as mid November.

This will leave roughly 30-40 people at Reindahl still in need of better shelter from the cold. 

The City of Madison does have plans to open a second location by the end of November or early December.