New Homeless Campground Possible In Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The Fayetteville planning commission discussed a proposal Monday (Oct. 9) that would create a new homeless campground in South Fayetteville.

The group Serve NWA proposed the project, but the commission voted to table the decision.

The proposed campground would be located on 19th Street. Betty Rankin was one of two people to speak out against the project.

"I was thinking well good, we've got a little bit longer anyway," she said.

Ranking said since the homeless people made camp in the area, nothing has been the same.

"We've lived there for over 30 years and we've never locked our doors or anything, but now we have to. Cars, doors, everything else," she said.

She said there have been deaths in the area, fighting and trash in her pond from the homeless camps.

Those with Serve NWA said they are just trying to help.

"We see that. I mean we clearly are aware of that. We think by controlling what is now an uncontrolled circumstance, that we can vastly improve that part of the neighborhood," said Kevin Fitzpatrick, board of directors member for Serve NWA.

The new site will house about 25 people in a frame style dwellings. Rankin said she is aware of the homeless problem in the area, but said she wishes they could be put somewhere else so her property values do not decrease. She said sometime soon she won't be able to take care of her house and will have to sell.

"And it will have to do me and my daughter probably because she can't work either and we're on retirement. Don't make that much. So it's just really got us in a pain too," she said.

With the project tabled, Fitzpatrick and Serve NWA have about two weeks before they come back to the commission, but he said he isn't sure what happens next.

"I believe they're behind it, they just need to be convinced of some things. Yeah I'm not exactly sure what that next step is but I'm assuming it's going to be a conversation or two," he said.

Some of the issues the commission had included security, the availability of bathrooms and the structure of the dwellings. Fitzpatrick said he is confident that the city will approve the project and that he is eager to move forward.

The planning commission will meet again on Oct. 23.