Plans to turn Eagan hotel into homeless shelter hits roadblock after pushback from community

Homeless shelter proposal hits roadblock

Homeless shelter proposal hits roadblock

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners meeting was packed Tuesday evening, with many bringing concerns about the possibility of converting Norwood Inn and Suites in Eagan into a homeless shelter.

The owner of Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill & Lounge, the hotel’s neighbor, spoke at the meeting.

“The past few years, we’ve seen a huge spike in crime and drug activity,” said David Ansari.

“If you guys are going to bring in a homeless shelter, we just feel like this is going to be doubling down on what’s already happening there,” he added.

County officials addressed safety concerns, saying that the hotel would have 24/7 security and it would be a referral-based shelter rather than a drop-in. Only 55 units of the facility would be used to house those in need.

But the county was met with pushback on whether to apply for a $10 million grant for the shelter. The project’s total cost would be $24 million.

At the end of the meeting, all five commissioners voted not to move forward with the proposal, saying it felt rushed and lacked support from the community.

“I’ve never been supportive of this location, I am supportive of finding a shelter,” said Commissioner Liz Workman.

“I would rather have this room full of allies than go in with an ‘us against them’ and rush,” added Commissioner Mike Slavik.