COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After a stabbing at a homeless camp in Franklinton, the local Board of Trade is calling on the city to take action and remove the camp.
Local business owners say the encampments are hazardous and have been threatening business development progress for months.
“Franklinton is on the verge of realizing significant redevelopment, but every time an incident like this occurs, our progress take two steps back,” said exec. dir. of the Franklinton Board of Trade Trent Smith, in a statement. “The frustration is that this situation is completely avoidable if the city would immediately get boots on the ground to remediate the situation, clean up the hazardous waste, and make our community safer for our businesses, residents, and visitors. The location of the camp is near a very important gateway to the Franklinton community, but in the current condition, it’s not a very inviting one.”
Owner of Playful Pets Steve Faulkner said it’s hurting his business.
“I don’t think business owners in Franklinton can tolerate inaction on part of the city any longer,” he said. “It sounds really heartless. It sounds like something that’s kind of cold, but by the time they get to this point where homeless people are taking up residency on a city, where they’re having a negative impact on my business, I really don’t have time to worry about the choices they made to get where they are, the societal failures they may have faced. I need them to not solicit my customers and I need them to make my area of the neighborhood a little bit safer. We’ll get there, but it’s going to be a long process.”
Director of media relations for the City of Columbus, Robin Davis sent NBC4 this statement:
The City fully understands the concerns of developers, business owners and residents in Franklinton. Homelessness is a complex issue. People living on the land are experiencing mental health, drug and alcohol and/or unemployment issues. In order to resolve the problem of homelessness, we must work as a community to address these barriers.
When notified about a homeless camp, the city will send a special response unit to assess the situation. Our goal is to get the people off the streets and out of camps and into shelter or housing – not just to move them.