Catholic Community Services of Western Washington plans to tear down an old Aurora Avenue motel and construct a four-story, 71-unit apartment building for the very low income and homeless.
The plan worries some area residents who want to know who'll live at the building, what kind of visitors they'll have and how they'll fit with other social services in the area.
"It's not that we aren't compassionate about these people, but we do wonder about a critical mass being created that undoes the work we've been doing not to have crime in the area," said Linda Clifton of Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors (FAWN).
Dan Wise, division director for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, said the organization is negotiating to buy the graffiti-scrawled former Thunderbird Motel at 4251 Aurora Ave. N. and raise funds for a new building, which will include an on-site case manager and a rooftop garden for residents.
Jessica Vets, executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports the project. It's a good site to house and provide services for the homeless, she said.
Last known as the Fremont Inn, the Thunderbird was the first property cited under a nuisance property ordinance that took effect last year.
As soon as the Thunderbird and adjacent motels the Isabella and Italia closed, drug and prostitution problems in the area stopped, Clifton said. She doesn't want the problems to come back.
Vets, of the Fremont Chamber, said FAWN's worries are unfounded. Catholic Community Services isn't going to open a motel, it's going to open an apartment building that it will manage safely for the community and residents, as it has done for the past 20 years at the Aloha Inn in Queen Anne, she said.
"We think it's wonderful for the community," Vets said.
Catholic Community Services will hold a public meeting on the proposal on Wednesday, July 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave. N. in Seattle.