Open Letter to County Officials on Token Creek Campground

Posted January 28th, 2013 @ 8:37 AM by

They are unwilling to give us an extension past February 17th and we . . . say it with me . . . HAVE NO LEGAL PLACE TO GO!!! Still, yet, again.

We had a hell of time getting any answers out of the county yet again. I told you about it here, and the non-answers continued . . . it really felt like we had to harass them to get them to answer.

To: County Executive Joe Parisi
County Board Supervisors
Homeless Issues Committee Members

From: Occupy Madison (not Occupy Madison, Inc.)

Re: February 17th Deadline to leave Token Creek

Date: January 29, 2013

After eight days and multiple email requests, we finally got an answer to our questions about the 90-day limit on staying at Token Creek.

For now, the group should proceed with planning to move by February 17th.

A couple of factors that went into the 90-Day Special Event Permit for Token Creek Campground included:

1) Back in November, campers and organizers of the effort believed the group would soon be able to access alternative housing options and were pursuing a facility somewhere in Madison. The 90-day permit was intended to aid in that transition.

2) The campsites currently being utilized at Token Creek are within one of the county’s busiest campgrounds. We need time to prepare the campground in advance of the start of the 2013 season (April 2013). The 90-day permit was planned with the intent that the group would be gone by mid-February, generally the start of fluctuating weather conditions- freezing and thawing. Use of the turf areas during these conditions can cause considerable impacts.

February 17th is a Sunday and generally a day when the group has been able to move in the past. We look forward to collaborative voluntary departure from the campground.

Darren Marsh
Parks Director

As you are well aware, there is no legal place for us to go until April 16th when the county parks once again reopen for the season.

This is not a new issue for you. On April 19, 2012, RES. 20, 12-13 was introduced asking Madison Urban Ministry to do a report to explore alternative public and/or private sites for homeless community housing in temporary structures. Following the passage of the resolution in June, the report was submitted to you on July 9, 2012 and presented to the County Board on July 12, 2012. To date, no action appears to have been taken regarding any of the MUM report recommendations.

Nine months after being displaced from the site at 802 East Washington, we find ourselves yet again with no legal place to go. Worse yet, we are no closer to any solutions. This is not for a lack of effort on our part. We want to work cooperatively with you. We are sure that you are growing as weary of this issue as we are and we ask that you help us find a permanent solution to address this issue. Private solutions are slow and difficult for multiple reasons, but we continue to work with groups to pursue those options. Meanwhile, people still need a place to legally rest their heads at night if they have used their days in shelter, if their families do not qualify to stay together in a shelter or if they otherwise cannot participate in the shelter system due to physical or mental illness or other issues.

We respectfully ask for your assistance in the following matters:

1. We continue to be appalled by the utter lack of communication from the county. We would like to know how best to communicate with you since requests for meetings have been rebuffed and emails go unanswered. Lack of communication resulted in an unnecessary $11,000 cost to the county last November when you removed us from Lake View Hill. We would like to avoid that waste of taxpayer dollars in the future.

2. We respectfully request that when talking to the press, you acknowledge that there is a population of people who cannot participate in the shelter system and that there are lengthy waiting lists for services and housing programs. The public deserves to hear the truth– not to embarrass the county, but in order to understand the entire scope of the issues the county is facing in this economy.

3. We respectfully request that you review the MUM report recommendations and take action on the potential solutions.

4. We respectfully request that you assist in finding a legal place to camp for the long term, since there will continue to be unmet needs and people deserve a place to sleep where they will not be ticketed.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. Please feel free to arrange to meet with us at your earliest possible convenience.

I expect no response and another show down come February 17th. If you want to help, you could send an email to:
Joe Parisi
Joe’s Staff Jeff Kostelic
Lynn Green Department of Human Services
Darren Marsh, Parks Department
Kevin Connors, Land and Water Resources
Dave Mahoney, Sheriff
County Board Supervisors>

We really don’t want this to cost the county more the $11,000 again. Best to give them your address on the email so that they know you are a constituent (especially for the county board supervisors).

If you want to help us work on a permanent solution, you can stop by the Fountain tomorrow 5 – 7:30 at the Fountain (122 State St.) for our Occup-PIE fundraiser. We will have PIE for sale (with coffee) and friends, info on the project and Combustible Trio will be playing. Stop by and help us raise funds to get 20 people off the streets, a small dent, but a beginning.

Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media

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