[NEWS] Outreach workers get homeless to leave the Parkway
Shortly before midnight Thursday, it was a final few hands of the regular LOVE Park pinochle game for Willie Smith, 54, a truck driver who is currently homeless.
It was nearly two hours after the Secure Pope Perimeter was supposed to be in place along the Parkway from the Art Museum and stretching past City Hall to 12th Street, but the process in reality was a nearly all-night gradual shut down.
Smith said outreach workers had advised him and others to leave the area when the perimeter was installed. "They already told us to clear out the Park, don't argue." And Smith said he would. He was leaving in the morning for a work trip anyway.
By midnight, workers were still installing fences and gates, erecting tents that would turn into checkpoints. Bike police massed to patrol the area, and a handful of homeless people remained bedded down in LOVE Park.
Police officers on duty in the area said it was up to outreach workers to ask them to leave, and that they were not going to bother them. The Secret Service would be conducting security sweeps of the area all night before the metal detectors were installed Friday morning. Officials have said some homeless would probably be allowed to stay, and all would be allowed back in in the morning.