Signs placed around Brookmeade homeless encampment warn of impending closure

Signs placed around Brookmeade homeless encampment warning of impending closure
Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-28 20:22:54-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — People living at the encampment in Brookmeade Park have a matter of weeks to move out.

The city delivered residents a letter last week informing them of their plans to close the park on Jan. 4.

City officials said they're working to find housing for the estimated 45 residents before Christmas.

"I remember when I used to walk down through the park and take my dog for a walk," local resident Furman York said.

"I mean this started 10 years ago and here we are," said founder of Reclaim Brookmeade Park Rebecca Lowe after the news broke. "It's taken a long time."

But the once uncertain future of the park and its residents is now spelled out for all to read signs have been placed around the encampment reading "park will close January 4, 2023, for renovations."

"It was really an open-air drug market," said Lowe. "It had become a magnet for drug dealing. We had seen children in the park. We had seen people in mental crisis around the park."

The Salvation Army — along with other nonprofits in town — is working to find temporary housing for the residents.

"So the GAP housing can be a many number of things," said area commander Capt. Philip Canning. "For the Salvation Army particularly, ours will go into kind of like a hotel room with a kitchenette that's supposed to serve as GAP housing."

That will last 90 to 120 days.

The next step will be permanent housing.

Canning said the Salvation Army will also offer other wrap-around services.

"So with our community partners, you know, we partner with them to address any of the mental health issues, any of the addiction issues or any other type of challenges that they're having."

Although York looks forward to being able to walk through the park again, he said it's the people living in it now that he's most concerned about.

"Where are they going to live? What are we going to do with them? We have a responsibility for that," said York. "That's more important than the park, which I love. That's the number one decision, the park is number two."

Get NewsChannel 5 Now, wherever, whenever, always free.

Watch the live stream below, and download our apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Click here to learn more.