Commissioners to discuss homeless encampment

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The next time they meet, Leavenworth city commissioners will discuss options for addressing an encampment of homeless people at Bob Dougherty Park, the city manager said.

The City Commission meeting will take place July 6. Commissioners have no meeting scheduled for the coming week.

City Manager Paul Kramer mentioned the issue as commissioners concluded a meeting Tuesday.

He said the city has had flareups of issues related to homelessness during the last five years in different areas.

A couple of years ago, some downtown business owners had concerns related to what Kramer described as vagrancy and people sleeping in doorways.

"That has largely been alleviated," Kramer said, "I'm not going to say it's gone away."

He said an issue with homeless encampments under bridges was "remedied last week with removal." But he said the issue of the encampment of homeless people at the shelter at Bob Dougherty Park remains.

Kramer said city officials have been working on the issue for a while and have some options. He said there are legislative matters that commissioners can consider.

Mayor Nancy Bauder said Tuesday that she is glad commissioners will be looking into the matter.

Bob Dougherty Park is located at 800 N. Second St.

An existing city ordinance prohibits overnight camping on park properties except at the campgrounds of Riverfront Park, according to the city's website.

Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said the department has had self-initiated calls related to the encampment of people at Bob Dougherty Park but also has received complaints from members of the public.

"We've heard the complaints," he said. "We're working on a solution for everyone."

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR