Clearing of Owensboro wooded area where homeless encampment was located starts

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) An Eyewitness News follow up to a story we brought you earlier this year of a homeless encampment just outside English Park in Owensboro.

The area where the camp was is being cleared out as part of an ongoing effort to clean up the riverfront near the park.

Since this morning, a tree cutter has carved a path through a wooded area that’s right by English Park. It’s going right through where the homeless encampment used to be, and being done to clear out debris that’s built up along the river.

The project, which started last year between the Owensboro Convention Center and English Park, removes driftwood, debris and other items collecting along the river. The encampment was in the middle of the wooded area and on land controlled by by Specialty Foods Group and the army reserve. Both Owensboro city and St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter officials say anywhere from four to eight people were still there as of last week, but are finding other places to live.

“We do knew people resided there, so we wanted to make sure they had adequate notice of the work occur and we worked very closely with St. Benedict’s and staff there,” said Nate Pagan, Owensboro City Manager.

“There was a couple down there that wanted to, they said they had a housing opportunity with their employer, so they were following up on that. One of the individuals, Thursday night, came up and stayed with us,” said Harry Pedigo of St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter.

The encampment was the source of concern for some city residents earlier this year, and both Pagan and Pedigo say there have been a handful of complaints stemming from the camp in the past. Pedigo also says they’ve worked for two years telling people there about other options for them.

“Change is different and difficult for a lot of people. But the main thing is they know it’s there and what’s available to them,” he said.

The city and SFG are splitting the cost of the clear out, which will cost about $26,000. City officials say this project should be done as soon as November 11.

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