Students want to get homeless out of Williams Park - FOX 13 News

Students want to get homeless out of Williams Park

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Students at SPC's downtown campus will explain their vision for Williams Park to the St. Petersburg City Council November 18th.

SPC is located across the street from Williams Park, which is 4.5 acres of green space with well-known challenges.

"It's no secret the homeless are out here every day," Casey Martin told FOX 13 News. Fellow student Daryna Boloshyn said "The park is beautiful but it's just not safe."

Boloshyn claimed she was assaulted earlier this year.

"I had food in my hand and this guy charged on me because I food in my hand," she recounted, adding it was "a scary experience."

Some of the students, under the guidance of associate professor Tara Newsom, have a developed a vision for reclaiming the park.

It is essentially a strategy of displacement.

"We feel like if we can flood the park with students and the community, it will definitely clean up the park," Rachael Clark said. "We're going to have some student activities, if we can host some organizations, even we're trying to work with maybe having some outdoor classes as well."

Clark is one of those who will address the city council.

There appears to be some disagreement between the collegiates and some city officials, who want to see programming such as lectures and concerts.

"You don't need constant programming," Newsom asserted. "You need something to draw students as well as the rest of the community into Williams Park."

Newsom and others think food trucks, coffee vendors and free Wi-fi will accomplish that. The city council has been working on an ordinance to permit food trucks for more than a year, but that is one of many proposals awaiting action by city officials.

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