ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There’s more controversy for a local church trying to reopen its warming center. City administrators are demanding even more changes to the building, however church leaders say they aren’t left with many options.
Pastor Dave Frederick says hopefulness has now turned into frustration. He says he’s being forced to rent a new building for a separate warming center. Pastor Frederick says city administrators sent him a new list of requirements like adding a sprinkler system, fire wall, and fire alarm in the Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Rockford. He says that’s not what he personally discussed with Mayor Larry Morrissey last month. The city shut down the church’s warming center in March, citing zoning problems. City workers say there needs to be changes to the buildings current special use permit in order to have a shelter there. However, Frederick says construction would be too expensive, claiming a sprinkler system alone costs about $60,000.
“One step forward and two steps back, it’s very aggravating you know. All I wanted to do is you know, we had some people who were going to maybe possibly die.”
The city is also asking Frederick to fix up their kitchen if they want to serve meals to the homeless. Frederick says he just wants to help the city clean up the streets and give homeless people a place to go.
City workers say there are 24-hour warming centers downtown. They are encouraging church leaders to apply for a special use permit. The church would also need a food permit from the Winnebago County Health Department if they choose to serve meals.