Denair Park Problems Escalate; In-Depth Discussion Postponed

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When Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden met with property owners near Denair Park, one thing was instantly clear.

“The community members are very unhappy,” Wasden said.

Any passerby can see why. The once-vibrant park has become a haven for many of the seedier elements of Turlock's homeless population.

Kit Casey, owner of Main Street's Cotta's Kitchen – a restaurant across the street from Denair Park – knows the problems better than most.

“We have front-row seats to Denair Park, so we have a lot of knowledge as to what is happening over there,” he said.

Casey didn't get into the dirty details. But he was quick to note that his wife sometimes fears for her safety when coming into work at 5 a.m. to start cooking, while it's still dark outside.

“It's more than just homelessness,” Casey said. “There is a criminal element over there, and it is a serious problem.”

Councilwoman Amy Bublak, a City of Modesto Police Officer, echoed Casey's concerns. Crime is “exponentially going up,” locally, she said, and it's time the Turlock City Council had a “hard discussion” about supporting public safety.

“I'm seeing the people that I was arresting (in Modesto), now here,” Bublak said. “There's something that is welcoming people to come here and commit crime.”

One potential quick fix, councilman Bill DeHart said, is to immediately begin enforcing some laws already on the books. He pointed to the scores of people who walk from Denair Park to a nearby liquor store, then return to drink alcoholic beverages openly in the park. Drinking is prohibited in Turlock parks.

The Turlock City Council was scheduled to have an in-depth discussion on Denair Park's issues Tuesday, but largely delayed the item to give city staff more time to assess the situation.

“We're going to start working on identifying and addressing those issues, as well as the broader issues,” Wasden said.

That broader discussion will take place in “a couple weeks,” Turlock Police Capt. Carl Nielsen said Tuesday. The discussion is expected to look beyond Denair Park, discussing panhandling, the issue of homelessness, and the work that local nonprofits and the city are engaged in to reduce homelessness.

Comments 8

  1. Exactly says:

    We looked at renting the spot that Cotta’s Kitchen is in and deemed the area across the street a deal killer. They could have offered us zero rent, and I still wouldn’t have taken it due to the problems across the street. Turlock needs an ordinance that outlaws panhandling

  2. In the Know says:

    How quickly the council forgets that at the CM’s recommendation, they cut four Police Officer positions. Now they are concerned about public safety in violation of a contract they signed with the Federal Government. Shame on them.

  3. Bralio says:

    I didn’t see the conservative white city council do anything about the homeless in Denair Park when there was a Mexican restaurant across the street. And for Amy Bublak to say “exponentially going up,” …really. That’s just plain stupid. Summary: White people bought in a bad neighborhood and now want the city council to clean it up.
    Also, did the city council know that RED BRICK restaurant expand their business building on the weekends without getting proper permits. I think someone should look into that or is that an Assyrian Pact?

  4. Bralio? says:

    Just a freaking Troll.

  5. Rich Republicans says:

    Bublak and Dehart represent the rich white Repbulicans in Turlock. Where do they live and what are they doing about the homelessness in Turlock? Quit talking about what others should do and do it yourselves. You hate Obama but at least he is trying to do something for people.

  6. Really says:

    I don’t know how Obama, race or political views got into this discussion but ignorant people always take it there. Anyway I’m glad to see that something will hopefully be done about the panhandlers and homeless. First of all if the people of Turlock want to get rid of them stop giving to them. Don’t give them a $1 to make yourself feel better. If you want to give to charity, give to a legit charity please. 🙂

  7. the real reason says:

    this is a perfect example of why Government is a bad idea. this problem won’t stop until people realize government is rewarding their behavior with EBT, welfare, and 51-50 checks. then the churches squeeze a few more “guilt” dollars out of community to feed them so they can trade their gubment checks for their vices i.e. drugs/booze/fresh fits/hairdo’s/yada yada. these are people are who are comfortably poor and to who a baby means money. when you the people stop paying for this with tax dollars this behavior will go away.

    read atlas shrugged.

  8. Oh great, more crackhead apologists! says:

    We have a business between two of the worst parks in this town, parks that have been ruined by homeless on EBT that want to stay homeless & drug addicted forever. We are tired of them using our property as a toilet, git drunk spot, crackhouse, heroin den, place to sleep or place to have sexual encounters with other homeless crackheads, speedfreaks & junkies. We are tired of them panhandling us & our customers as we enter & exit our place. We are tired of the fact that the churches attract them here, then do nothing to take responsibility for what they’ve done to this town. To the idiot that says white people bought in a bad hood, now want the city to clean it up, Main St. & Canal is not a bad neighborhood at all. It is one of the nicest areas in Turlock, now being ruined by people who think it’s ok to urinate on others’ property while living off of others’ money, & if you say something about it, they try to spit their toxic saliva onto you. The churches & the government created this mess by enabling these people to exist without having to earn anything, now it’s time for the churches & government to clean their mess up. If it doesn’t get handled, we will handle it ourselves, or take our money & our productive business elsewhere. People need to stop giving to the church programs that keep the bums here, & the city needs to revoke the lease on the HAM center. Stop giving them a reason to come to Turlock. That would be a very good start.

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