The camp at Reindahl Park remains in place as city officials weigh potential alternate campsites for unhoused residents.
Madison Community Development Director Jim O’Keefe says that city staff are currently looking to establish a site that complies with state campground regulations. That means that the city would have to meet requirements for delivery of drinkable water, as well as connection to public sanitary sewer systems.
O’Keefe addressed Madison Equal Opportunities Commission last Thursday.
“I think that there’s broad consensus among city staff, among campers at Reindahl Park, among service agencies that are supporting them, I believe among members of the common council and likely among many residents in the nearby area. General consensus that the current situation at Reindahl Park is not sustainable, and it’s something that we need to do much better in responding to,” says O’Keefe.
O’Keefe says that the alternative locations will either consist of property that is already owned by the city or private property that needs to be purchased. This latter option could take a while, as O’Keefe notes that there is a “very structured and defined process” that the city must follow to obtain property.
In the spring, the number of residents in Reindahl Park was less than a dozen. As of now, that number has grown to about 40 to 60 people, according to city estimates.
To reduce concerns that are currently being voiced about the volume of people staying in Reindahl Park, O’Keefe says that they want to limit the amount of people allowed at alternative sites to 30, which would allow for staffing and oversight on behalf of the city.
Though the city’s Finance Committee approved proceeding with plans for these alternatives, nothing will come of those plans without further approval by the city, as land-use issues prevent any of the proposed resolutions.
“None of this will happen without further council approval. So, there are some resolutions that have been introduced to the council that will address some of the land use issues that are currently an impediment to the kind of arrangement that we’re talking about,” says O’Keefe.
Right now, there are no immediate solutions for the residents at Reindahl Park. O’Keefe hopes encampment solutions in relation to land use ordinances will be addressed at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 31.
Reporting for WORT News, I’m Hailey Griffin.
Image Courtesy: Nathan Dumlao // Unsplash