$750K in unspent PAB funds to be applied to new Peace Village shelters

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Rochester’s Police Accountability Board has $750,000 in unspent money that’s just been returned to City Council.

Plans are in the works to use that money to fund other “community needs.” One of those needs includes bringing some major improvements to Peace Village and the homeless people who live there. News10NBC talked to City Council President Miguel Melendez about the city’s plan and the unused funds.

Tuesday night by a vote of 8 to 1, Rochester City Council members voted to move forward with their plan to turn the Peace Village around.

“We’re excited,” said Melendez. “We think this is going to be a great thing for Peace Village.”

Rochester’s Peace Village will soon get a much-needed makeover. City Council will have several outdated shelters removed from the lot located at 97 Industrial St. and add 15 brand new insulated 2-bed pallet shelters.

The lot will also have two bathroom facilities and a community room included. The transitional housing project is expected to cost $460,000, all funded by unused cash originally given to the Police Accountability Board.

“There was underruns in the spending in the fiscal year. So typically, when there is an underrun you either send the money back to the administration or you reallocate the funds, and we chose in this instance to do something with it that will hopefully provide some public good as well,” said Melendez.

That leaves $290,000, already earmarked for additional work at the site.

“The remaining resources are allocated towards improvements to the site,” said Melendez. “So we have to do some leveling for the site before we do insulation. There’s some electrical hook-ups, other things that we need to do to prepare for this.”

Melendez says the PAB will soon apply for its next fiscal budget.

“We will receive the proposed budget early May,” said Melendez. “So probably around the second week in May, and we would vote on the item, the budget mid-June. I think June 20 is the budget vote.”

So when will the work begin at Peace Village?

“We have to order everything, and it takes at least eight weeks to ship to Rochester,” said Melendez. “So it’s going to take some time before we see it.”

Melendez hopes Peace Village is up and running again before the end of the year. Local Rotary Clubs and other community members have signed on to help volunteer building up the site.