Local resident asks the Wellsville community to contact Mayor Randy Shayler

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Vagrants are a danger to public health and safety in the village

By Andrew Harris

A certain element in Wellsville has metastasized. What once was Mike Hile wandering Main Street totally wasted, has become a much larger group of unfortunate souls. This “horde” of folks who obviously have alcohol, drug, and mental health issues have been taking advantage of pocket parks in the village, turning them into dens of disgusting drunken despair. These dens are not safe for the public, especially children, and one local business is speaking up and demanding action. This morning a local resident posted this on social media:

“We live in the little Village of Wellsville, NY. As spring became summer, a little “pocket park” area at the corner of S. Broad and E. State has become the place for certain people to come and hang out to drink, pass out, and use rude and lewd words and gestures to the people that are nearby.

Young girls are being asked for sexual favors. We have been told by law enforcement that there is nothing to be done as it is private property. We have been unsuccessful in our attempt to find and speak with the owner of this property.

In a few short weeks, this will be where the bus stops for neighborhood children. We, the people of this neighborhood, are asking fellow residents to please drive by some day or evening and see this situation for yourselves and then email our mayor, Randy Shayler ([email protected]), and let him know that you too would like to see this stopped. We all need to work together to take back our neighborhoods. Please share this post so that our voices might be heard. Thank you.”

This resident isn’t the only local with issues. The Fassett Greenspace, on Main Street in Wellsville, has been in the same boat. Vagrants have attempted to make this pocket park home base, which is privately owned but provided to the public as a community service. As a volunteer at the Fassett Greenspace, I have personally had to attempt to remove this horde from a place designed for children, families, and residents to enjoy. They disrespect the place in almost every way possible, I’ll spare you the details. I’ve called the police many times and they have always done what they could. It is safe to say that the police are as frustrated as anyone(more so I’d say because when they do make an arrest they must release them.)

Like most community problems, there is no silver bullet. As the above statement reminds us, this is a community problem and it will take community action to improve the situation.

This situation is a public safety issue and a public health issue.

Many residents do not feel safe, both at home and when walking down Main Street. Many locals have had encounters with highly intoxicated, filthy, and aggressive individuals in public.

These unfortunate folks are urinating and defecating, using hypodermic needles, and leaving used prophylactics. Sadly, this population is infested with bedbugs as well.

Mayor Shayler and the village trustees should consider local laws and debate the possibility of declaring a public health emergency. The solution should not depend on police, but it should provide our local law enforcement with more options in order to be able to “protect and serve.”

These vagrants have become a cancer of sorts that Wellsville hasn’t had to deal with in my memory. This population is desperate, addicted, and growing in numbers. It is infecting the communities daily life and will continue to do so until we work together to find a solution.

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