ST. LOUIS – Fences still surround Washington Square Park at St. Louis City Hall. There has been a lot of confusion for the people living outside city hall this week, beginning with an eviction notice.
“We moved (the people) because it was unsafe and unhealthy. It was also a hazard to the employees and business people who use city hall on a daily basis,” Mayor Tishaura Jones said.
The city’s original plan was to remove the homeless encampment Monday night at 10:01 p.m., but that plan was pushed back.
“Where the city was trying to relocate these people wasn’t going to be able to accept them because of their policies and those hours that Monday evening, park curfew enforcement was put on hold and I think a lot of our outreach was done again yesterday,” Sgt. Charles Wall, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said.
“The eviction got pushed back to 12 when the police came driving down, saying you have to be gone by 12 or you’re going to be arrested. There is no way a shelter is going to be open at 12 in the morning, and then we were still out there closer to 2,” said Alderman Rasheen Aldridge Jr.
The alderman said there are about 13 people left near city hall. He hopes to have a better plan in the future but understands the mayor’s reasoning for removing the encampment.
“We saw drug dealing, drug using, and people defecating on the city hall grass and that is not safe. It’s not healthy. It’s not a good look for the city of St. Louis,” Jones said.