Home City park ‘Handful’ remains at Reindahl Park as city prepares to clean up site

‘Handful’ remains at Reindahl Park as city prepares to clean up site

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MADISON, Wisconsin – A “handful” of people remained camped at Reindahl Park on Monday afternoon as the city of Madison prepares to clean up the site as winter approaches, city employees told a committee Monday evening.

During a virtual city-county homelessness committee meeting, city staff provided an update on efforts to relocate homeless people from the park on the east side of the city.

Several tents remained at Reindahl Park on Monday, December 6, 2021, as the city of Madison prepares to clean up the site and move the homeless to another shelter. WISC-TV / Channel3000.

Community development specialist Sarah Lim told the committee that everyone who had been in the park for a longer time and was on a list compiled by outreach teams at the end of October were offered housing options if they live. still homeless.

Those who stay at the park got there more recently, she added. Outreach workers explained the options to these people as the city prepares to clean up the park.

Starting Tuesday, park staff will begin tagging left-behind personal items. The property will be disposed of immediately if it is valued at $ 50 or less, is contraband, is perishable, poses a security risk, or has no significant value, Lim said. The city will store other items for 45 days.

Park clean-up efforts will begin Thursday; all tents, structures and personal effects must be removed by then.

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The city recently began moving 27 people to 64-square-foot shelters at a Dairy Drive site. The other three spaces at the facility have been reserved for people who have been at Reindahl Park for some time, Lim said.

Thirty-four people were moved to hotel spaces; the city has “a few more rooms” to fill and outreach partners are working to fill them, she added.

Residents of Reindahl Park are given priority for available shelter, but when openings arise, the city will make a plan to help others relocate, prioritizing those who have been homeless for longer, Lim said.

RELATED: Dairy Drive Campground Residents Settle In As Reindahl Park Encampment Nears Closure

Michael Moody, CEO of Catalyst for Change, praised the city for its efforts.

“In this job, it’s a challenge and nothing is perfect, but in a very difficult situation, having created sixty spaces for people is quite remarkable,” he said.

Another speaker, James DeGray, also credited the city’s work and stressed that he didn’t want progress to stop now that the Dairy Drive site is open.

Permanent solutions

Linette Rhodes, a city grants supervisor, told the committee that the city had closed the purchase of a property at 1902 Bartillon Drive, near the DMV site on the east side, in preparation for permanent shelter for men. Fire crews removed an abandoned building at the site as part of a training exercise, clearing the land for future use.

In addition, the city is reviewing another site for review.

Rhodes said planning work for the permanent shelter is expected to begin next year, with construction scheduled to begin in 2023.

The city is also moving ahead with plans to purchase a property at 2002 Zeier Road to use as a temporary men’s shelter. In May, city council rejected plans to use the site near the East Towne Mall as a permanent shelter, but approved the purchase of the site for temporary use as a shelter in October.

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