MINNEAPOLIS — Backed up by park police, personnel from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) moved in Thursday morning and cleared a homeless encampment from Peavey Park.
The move was made in accordance with a resolution passed in mid-July, limiting encampment sites and not allowing them inside school safe zones. MPRB says notices to vacate were issued to people living in approximately 12 tents in Peavey Park, which is adjacent to the K-12 Hope Academy. Parents, staff and students of the school spoke at recent board meetings asking to have the encampment cleared so students could once again safely use park play equipment, athletic courts and fields.
"Since August 10, we have sought a peaceful disbandment of the camp, as we have disbanded other camps in the park system. The use of law enforcement has been a last resort at Peavey, as it was at Powderhorn Park,” said Superintendent Alfred Bangoura.
MPRB notes that staff from Hennepin County and St. Stephens have been on site several times since mid-August, trying to connect homeless encampment residents with services and spaces in nearby shelters. The board says previous efforts to clear the park without help from law enforcement have been unsuccessful.
“We need to begin healing as a city," said Board Vice President LaTrisha Vetaw in a released statement. "Cleaning up this park is needed for these kids and all kids in this community. Our children have been through a lot of trauma and they need a place to play.”
The site will now be cleared and cleaned, including removal of abandoned tents and removal of needles and bio-hazard materials.