PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — A homeless haven in a neighborhood park is forcing the City of Placerville to take drastic action.
The homeless problem has become so bad at Lumsden Park that the city has decided to demolish the park’s public restroom, and cut off the water.
Debbie Soto brings her grandchildren to the playground at Lumsden Park. The park is located in a quiet corner of Placerville, lined with tall trees and with the problems that come with a homeless community that’s grown comfortable here.
“No one in their right mind would use a toilet here,” Soto said. “There’s needles on the floor.”
Soto says she called the City of Placerville a year ago about the public restroom.
“Because I was completely blown away by the bathroom,” Soto said.
Now the City of Placerville has voted to demolish the restroom facility, leaving no running water for the public, after determining the structure has become a hiding place for illicit activity including drug use, sex trafficking, and repeated acts of vandalism.
Fires have also been a concern.
“They were having bonfires to keep it warm, and I’m like, ‘oh my god,'” Soto said.
People who live nearby say the homeless community has cost them a sense of safety on the surrounding streets. Fernando Esparza moved in recently and quickly discovered his tools were going missing overnight.
“I’m assuming the people who live here, they already knew that,” Esparza said. “But I wasn’t aware of it, you know, so I had to find out the hard way, unfortunately.”
He fears the problem is bigger than the bathroom.
“They’re going to stay here no matter what,” Esparza said.
The city Placerville’s homeless haven, a problem public park, and an effort to return its use to everyone who lives here.
“Well we can’t enjoy it,” Soto said.