Downtown businesses frustrated with nearby homeless camp

Neighbors: Camp has unsafe, unsanitary conditions

INDIANAPOLIS - Downtown businesses have become increasingly frustrated with a nearby homeless camp.

Merchants have complained about the worsening conditions of the homeless camp and they are equally upset that city officials have ignored their pleas for help.

The squalid living conditions of the camp in the 100 block of South Davidson Street have impacted the entire area.

Even the people who live there have acknowledged that the conditions mirrored those of any third-world country.

“For the businesses that look at this place and the smell of urine in the bushes and see the things they see, there will be people that say let’s shut them down, let’s throw them out,” one camp resident said.

In recent years, the size of the camp has tripled. It has had crime problems, trash , rodents and unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Neighbors are fed up with all of it.

“The other day, we watched a young man just stand there and take a leak in the street, right there in the street,” said Tina LaGrotte, owner of Milano Inn restaurant.

Aside from the look and smell, the camp has had an economic impact on the neighborhood.

Business owners said they have lost customers and revenue because people don’t want to come into the area.

“The businesses are suffering from it. Property values have definitely gone down, and it’s hard to get tenants who want to come in and relocate in the building because of that,” said businesswoman Valerie Harper.

Neighbors are frustrated too. Endless meetings with city agencies have yet to produce a solution that would satisfy everyone on both sides of Davidson Street.

“It seems like I don’t see a motivation to get them out of the area and into a place where there’s some help, whatever the case might be,” businessman Jim Spitznogle said.

City officials said they have an ongoing plan to try and connect the homeless population with services, but there is no plan to move the homeless out.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

Print this article Back to Top