Grand Junction residents react to Whitman Park closure

Conversations surrounding Whitman Park closure continue.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 10:27 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Wednesday afternoon, Grand Junction residents told their stories, concerns, and thoughts about homelessness in the Grand Valley to the city council. Several connected the closure of Whitman Park to a human rights crisis in our own city.

At the meeting, attendees shared a lot of opposing views on what solutions could look like for homeless people, but also a lot of questions handed off to the city. It’s well known that Whitman Park is a common ground for those struggling with homelessness in Grand Junction.

People are worried that the city is putting too much responsibility and burden on non-profits and charities instead of stepping up to help with practical solutions.

Many expressed frustration towards council themselves.”We the people are responding to a human rights crisis, your backroom deals are making the situation worse,” said a Grand Junction resident.

However, not everyone was against the city’s decision. The owner of Scotty’s Muffler Center, Robbie Snyder, says he’s in support of the closure.

A resident near Hawthorne Park says Whitman Park is the best place for homeless people. He says it’s big, shady, and not near many homes. “It’s seems particularly insulting to the homeless community to just close this and do nothing with it,” the resident said. He continued by saying homeless people have every right to be in the parks, but need to comply with city ordinances.

Concerns for LGBTIQ+ individuals arose. One resident from Clifton pointed out how youth and young adults might be forced to live on the streets. He says they deserve to feel safe and many found that safety at Whitman Park.

For now, it’s up to the city.