Efforts Continue to Clean Debris - and Homeless - from Lucas Park

Lucas Park (a.k.a. "Hobo Park") located at the corners of Locust and 14th streets is slated to get additional funding for beautification efforts next year.

Starr Triplett
Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett (Ward 6) says she met yesterday with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay to secure the increased monies.

"It remains to be determined how much additional funding we'll receive, but it should be enough to pay for structural repairs and improvements," says Triplett. The alderman reports that she's also organizing a community meeting with the mayor -- tentatively scheduled for October 26 -- in which residents can provide their ideas and concerns for the park.

As first reported in Riverfront Times in August, many downtown loft dwellers complain that residents of a nearby homeless shelter have ruined the park by using it as something of an open-air bar and toilet.

Last month, several of those concerned neighbors concluded a petition drive that will ask the city’s Board of Public Service to declare the New Life Evangelistic Center a "detriment to the neighborhood" and ask that it be shut down.

Andy Martello, an organizer of the petition effort, says the group is currently vetting more than 500 signatures it has collected from downtown residents and property owners.


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Alderman Triplett, meanwhile, notes that her efforts to clean up the park are not intended to kick out the homeless.

"The park is there for everyone to enjoy," she says. "This is about making Lucas Park comfortable for all."

In related news…
On Friday night (Oct. 3), the Rev. Larry Rice, operator of New Life Evangelistic Center, is planning a "Night Out with the Homeless" in Lucas Park. The overnight camp-out is designed to "to raise awareness and compassion regarding the plight of the poor and homeless in our community," as well as raise funds for the shelter.

- Chad Garrison


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