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Pan Am Shelter to Get Kitchens, Playground and Day Care

By Katie Honan | March 10, 2016 3:07pm
 The Pan Am shelter will undergo renovations now that its contract has been approved. 
The Pan Am shelter will undergo renovations now that its contract has been approved. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — Construction on improving rooms at the Pan Am shelter will begin "as soon as possible" now that its operator has been approved for a contract from the city, officials said.

The shelter will also build a playground for residents and a day care facility for toddlers while it upgrades the building — which became a family shelter in June 2014 amid pushback from the community.

Douglas Apple, the executive vice president of Samaritan Village, said Wednesday they'll submit construction plans by June to bring the building up to code. He was at City Hall for an event marking progress repairing violations at many homeless shelters through the "Shelter Repair Squad."

The Pan Am has been in violation of city codes since it opened for not providing kitchen access to the 216 families inside.

The city approved the provider's application for a contract at the shelter in February, clearing the way for more than $23 million in city funds through June 2017, according to the comptroller's office. 

Samaritan Village was limited in what it could do without a contract, Apple said.

The group said they plan to work with the Department of Homeless Services to temporarily relocate families during construction.

"We're committed to getting this done quickly, we're committed to getting kitchens put in and our goal is to really give families the kind of rooms they want and need," he said.