Councilwoman Diane Toliver had requested a council discussion of conditions at Park & Seventh after seeing them first-hand while volunteering at a Democratic campaign office there. Toliver said she walked along Park Avenue to Front Street and found people fighting, selling drugs and urinating in public.
Financial Plaza at Park & Front, newly renovated in 2008Police Director Carl Riley said Tuesday he had benches removed from the Front Street corner, saying "resources were being wasted there." in dealing with the loiterers.
Chess table saved in 2005 renovations
"The crew that plays chess is no concern," Riley said.
In 2012, former Police Director Martin Hellwig had a bench removed from Park & Seventh because people were sleeping on it, drinking and having loud, profanity-laced arguments that were frightening away shoppers.
Riley said police were trying to use "positive engagement" with the individuals causing nuisances.
Toliver also cited the Park Hotel, a state-licensed home for adults, as a source of problems and said officials might "perhaps enlighten the owners."
Riley said he and Deputy City Administrator Carlos Sanchez met with operators of the Park Hotel and things improved at Park & Seventh, but now, Riley said, they will have a meeting regarding the situation at Park & Front.
Both locations are shopping destinations and merchants have also asked for help in deterring loitering and panhandling.