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Library Park: Homeless haven?
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Add yet another Manteca resident that is more than a little upset about conditions at Library Park and believes the municipal motto “Family City” is misleading given what city leaders have allowed to happen.

Dennis King is the 10th resident in the past five weeks to complain to the Bulletin about conditions at the de facto town plaza where the city has invested more than $1.1 million to expand, upgrade and make “family friendly” as a community gathering place.

As King points out, the only folks gathering there these days are the homeless, drunks, drug addicts, and those of questionable repute.

This past week on one occasion he counted 28 people sitting around drinking, pushing junk around, and even taking a bath using the sink in the restroom with the door wide open.

King notes Police Chief Nick Obligacion has pointed out correctly that the homeless have rights. He also noted that the city has been removing homeless camps in the area.

That said, the city was once much more effective at keeping the homeless out of Library Park.

And it was because a council member made a big stink about it. Jack Snyder, who is no longer on the council, sharply criticized staff a  few years back for even thinking about expanding the park and putting in a water play feature if nothing was going to be done to prevent the park from turning into a haven for the homeless. He made it clear that he’d vote against park improvements unless the area was cleaned up and stayed that way.

Municipal staff responded and came up with an action plan that kept the homeless on the move.

It is obvious nothing will happen at Library Park where over $1.1 million was invested with the intent on  attracting more people downtown and not the homeless unless the City Council takes the bull by the horns. And that means more than just stepping up police presence when possible

Meanwhile, police are doing a decent job enforcing the overnight park closing rules.

Once the sun goes down and midnight nears, a large group of homeless have been seen gravitating to the triangle island bordered by Manteca Avenue, West Yosemite Avenue, and Pierce Avenue.

Another reader that didn’t want her name used suggested that if anyone running for either council or mayor wants her vote in November that they’d better propose an action plan to address the homeless to make Library Park more inviting for Manteca’s 72,000 other residents.