Kalamazoo city manager says Bronson Park campers must clear out, subject to arrest

Posted at 10:12 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 08:11:34-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo's city manager says protestors camping out at Bronson Park must clear out and may be subject to arrest starting Tuesday.

In a statement issued late Monday, Jim Ritsema says that under city ordinance, camping in any park is prohibited without written permission by the city.  People who refuse to leave Bronson Park after 7 p.m. on Tuesday "will be subject to possible arrest and prosecution," the statement reads.

Homeless men and women began protesting in late August when the city initially proposed a ban on camping at Bronson Park.

Ritsema's statement says, in part that "the growing encampment in Bronson Park is not a solution to the issues surrounding homelessness. It is a violation of City ordinances and must end."

Read Ritsema's full statement

The announcement comes after the city has had several meetings with those occupying the park to discuss possible solutions, with no agreement being reached.  City officials stated at previous meetings that they are committed to finding both short- and long-term solutions.

They continue to offer shelters such as the Gospel Mission as options, though protestors have said that some of the shelters are unsafe.