GREENSBORO, N.C. – LeBauer and Center City parks are staples in the heart of the downtown, but recently, the topic of homelessness at the parks have come up once again. Some have complained that too many unsheltered people are hanging around these areas.
Traditionally, a good portion of the Greensboro homeless population spends time in the parks, and over by the library and parking deck. However, the Executive Director of Greensboro Downtown Parks, Rob Overman, says problems with them are few and far between.
“When Carolyn LeBauer offered the money to finance the park, one of the things that she stipulated, that it would be a park for all people. So, myself and my staff, that is something that we put into our work every day, making sure that we uphold her request that it's a park for everyone,” he said.
In fact, Overman says he sees having the population inside the parks serves as a good opportunity for meaningful interaction. Visitors at the park echo his thoughts, saying it’s rarely a problem having them around.
For people like DeAngelo Dodson, who come LeBauer almost every day, the diversity enhances the park experience.
“As humans we should enjoy ourselves where we are at, and a park or anything like that, it's a wonderful place where everybody can come enjoy themselves,” he said.
Dodson can often be found teaching golf to kids at the park.
“Every time that I do it, I have a joy with it, a joy comes over me because I like to show the children how to do it and show them the basics,” he said.
Other visitors say having non-sheltered people at a public park isn’t a problem.
“Because someone's homeless, you can't just shun them away from a public area,” said Barrington Johnson.
Overall, Overman says having a popular and busy park keeps trouble away.
“Since LeBauer Park came online it's an even safer area in downtown Greensboro,” he said, “And that has to do with the activations that take place in the park… There's always something going on down here and that helps to have a high number of folks in the park on a daily and nightly basis.”
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