Feb 9, 2010 8:29 AM by Greg Boyce
The Colorado Springs City Council is scheduled to vote today on whether to place a ban on camping in public places. The ordinance seems aimed particularly at camping along Fountain Creek. Several hundred people are living in a makeshift tent city this winter, and while the problem isn't new, the numbers are much larger, probably partly due to the poor economy.
According to the City's website, the ordinance has "...been crafted as a result of ongoing problems associated with sanitation, open fires and crimional activity involving makeshift campsites on public property (including parks, City right-of-way near creek sides and trail ways and Colorado Department of Transportation property). The Colorado Springs Police Department has formally been involved with community partners on homeless issues for over 10 years."
Several neighborhood associations have voiced support for a camping ban, including the Organization of Westside Neighbors, the Council of Neighborhood Organizations and Westside Development Team. However some homeless advocates are opposed to the ordinance.
El Pomar Foundation has offered a $100,000 grant to a group called Homeward Pikes Peak if the ordinance passes. El Pomar's chairman, Bill Hybl, says the grant is not to influence city council's vote but one councilman says it makes it easier to vote for the ban.
"If it can help implement a plan that can find places for those displaced and help us get control of the situation, I think it's a great thing," said Councilman Sean Paige.
The meeting starts at 1 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers at 107 N Nevada Avenue.