NEW HAVEN -- A New Haven homeless encampment, whose occupants were cleared out three weeks ago, is still upsetting to nearby residents, who say the city has done nothing to clean up the mounds of trash that remain.
The view for residents along View Street, which sits above the site? Not exactly great optics.
"This is a park," exclaimed Charlie Belinski, who's owned a home on View Street for 15 years. "This can't be tolerated, leaving such a mess like this here. I mean, I know the homeless did it, but it's got to be cleaned up."
The city says there have been obstacles.
"There were vacation schedules to be navigated and weather conditions at this time of year," said Laurence Grotheer, the city's spokesperson.
But, he added, the Parks and Recreation Department expects to begin the cleanup, in earnest, sometime next week.
"Some of the debris lies on state property. So, there's even a jurisdiction issue at play."
Belinski says he took his first closeup look at what's left of the encampment yesterday.
"There was gas tanks. There's lawnmowers. There's grills. I saw some heaters."
But, the city is asking for patience. The land, on which the encampment is said to have grown over a couple of years, is situated along the Mill River, at the edge of East Rock Park. Grotheer says It will soon become part of the Mill River trail system.
"The Mayor's plan is to link all of these wildlife areas and make them more accessible to residents," he said.
"This is really a sanctuary for the animals all through here," said Belinski.
Approximately 20% of New Haven's footprint, including this former encampment, which is near Wilbur Cross High School, is reserved for parks.
"All of that combines to make New Haven a favorite spot for an Atlantic migratory path for birds," said Grotheer.
The city insists they are taking the residents' concerns, about the unsightly trash, very seriously.