INDIANAPOLIS – The long-expected relocation of a controversial homeless camp downtown has begun, with IMPD offers telling residents they have to leave within the week.
Officers served an eviction notice Tuesday to 67 residents of the Davidson Street homeless camp. They say it's a necessary step so that railroad officials can inspect the bridge under which the camp sits.
Police say inspectors for CSX Transportation, the company which owns the bridge, haven't been able to access the bridge for at least a year because of the maze of tents, debris and biohazards under it.
"This is an important reason to clean up this space: To make it safe for inspectors, folks in the neighborhood and the businesses around that area," said Scott Manning, spokesman for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.
The people who call the Davidson Street camp home, however, see more ominous motives.
"[It’s] a way for them to get us out," said one resident. "I don't think they're going to do nothing to this bridge."
While businesses in the area have complained for years about rodents, trash and people using the area as an open toilet, the people organizing the move say they're aware of the hardships of the camp's residents.
Homeless organizations have already been notified of the impending move, and have braced for the exodus from the bridge. Some are even saying it may be an opportunity to get more people off the streets and into the services they need.
For its part, the city says the move, while difficult, is in the best interests of public safety.