City of Santa Fe clears up confusion about idea for sanctioned homeless camp at midtown campus

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Plans to redevelop a sprawling property in the middle of Santa Fe, known as the midtown campus, are moving forward.

The city held a community meeting Thursday evening about the project and the next steps forward.

An Early Neighborhood Notification meeting focused on zoning changes, land use, and a master plan for the property. But the city wants to make it clear that a separate idea to create a temporary, sanctioned homeless camp on the site is not part of the long-term redevelopment plans.

Plans have been in the works for years now to redevelop the mostly vacant 64-acre city owned property off St. Michaels drive into a mixed-use city center.

During Thursday’s virtual meeting the city presented the latest development plans to the public, that include affordable housing, parks, and office and business space.

Recently an idea to temporarily create a sanctioned homeless camp on the midtown campus was floated during a city council meeting. The city has spent around $3.6 million moving unsanctioned camp sites in the city.

“The idea is that this is a temporary sanctioned place where people that are homeless to live, something like, I think has been thrown around for something like a year while we work on a longer term solution,” said city councilor Carol Romero-Wirth.

But city spokesperson Dave Herndon said that is separate from the long-term redevelopment plans underway for the Midtown Campus.

“It has nothing to do with the possibility of establishing a small temporary sheltering opportunity for people who are experiencing homelessness. They basically have nothing to do with each other,” said Herndon.

There are more public meetings about the master plan this summer and fall. The final plan is expected to go before the city’s governing body in October.

The city said it’s planning a different town hall to address the homeless encampment issue at later date.