I’ve been a Palmetto resident for the past 35 years and have seen many good changes here but now, I sometimes wonder, “Who’s in charge?” \
The city has allowed a homeless man to live in Sutton Park for the past six months, who blocks the sidewalk with his belongings. I’ve noticed that on beautiful Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the once-busy “family-friendly” park has been empty — except for the homeless man and his friends. We all have compassion for the homeless, but Sutton Park is not where we want to establish a haven for them. This one man’s squatter’s rights are over-riding the rights of the citizens of Palmetto who also want to use the park, and who do pay their taxes and city bills each month. It’s just not right.
Over the past six months this man’s visitors have included other homeless people, a familiar lady who’s obviously on drugs, and another man who looked like he was selling. There’s also the fancy lady with blue hair and a mini-skirt at mid-day, who looks and walks like ... let’s just say, she looks out of place at the park.
The city commission has just created an ordinance to determine the acceptable length of a trailer but it’s OK for a homeless man to take up permanent residence at Sutton Park? Do we need a new ordinance to prevent such a thing so the rest of us can once again enjoy the park without the fear of needles or being someone’s entertainment?
I pray for wisdom in decision-making for our mayor and council members. We use to have a mayor who would drive around the city daily checking on everything. I want to trust that our current mayor and council members are taking such an interest.