MODESTO (CBS13) — A park in Modesto where families used to gather is now a place filled with garbage, human waste, and syringes.
The City of Modesto is tasked with the big clean-up effort of clearing out Beard Brook Park after hundreds of homeless people were moved to a new location that many say is an upgrade.
City crews are now removing hazardous items that are raising concerns.
Dumpsters have arrived one by one at the park and are quickly filled with hazardous materials left behind after hundreds of homeless were forced out.
Modesto let them stay in the park after a court ruled communities that do not have enough shelter beds cannot enforce illegal camping rules.
“We sacrificed this park so that we could enforce our ordinances everywhere else in the city,” said Thomas Reeves, Modesto Community and Media Relations Officer.
More than 400 people packed the park. Reeves said it became unorganized and the city learned they needed to do more than simply open a park for the homeless.
The city has now opened a shelter a couple hundred yards away filled with tents where homeless people can stay and store their belongings.
Chuck Reed says the new living arrangement is a big improvement.
“Before there was no structure. There was no, like, nobody cared for each other’s surroundings. If you saw the place after they cleared us out, it was like the city dump,” Reed said.
What’s left behind at Beard Brook Park is not just a mess, it’s a health hazard. In addition to all the garbage, clean-up crews have found used syringes and human and animal waste.
The plan is to haul off everything and dig into the dirt to make sure no hazards are left behind. It will take a lot of work and time before parents feel safe letting their kids play there again.
The city says it has no idea how long it will take before they can re-open the park to the public.