Same problem, different block

   Loitering. Drunkenness. Verbal abuse of employees. Discarded drug paraphernalia. Daily morning vomit cleanup.
   Sound familiar? Yes, Railroad Avenue has once again migrated to the front of our group worry list as the place you least want to operate a business, because of the myriad of problems listed above.
   The difference here is that the problem has migrated from its previous location at Railroad and Holly down the block to the corner of Railroad and Magnolia.
   The combination of police cameras, new businesses and the closing of the Station Pub have resulted in a dramatic shift on the Holly Street corner; but, like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, the problem has now reappeared elsewhere.
   Ann Marie Faiola, owner of Otion, at 1427 Railraod, wrote an impassioned letter to the mayor describing the plight now facing the businesses on her block, from drunks sleeping in the planter in front of her store to open drug usage.
   An Oct. 31 public forum was held to discuss the problem, but as we have seen, the police’s hands are largely tied. There is no room in the jails for these types of offenders, and tickets are useless, because they are never paid. There are no easy solutions.
   As we have seen, perhaps the only real solution is increased activity by the city’s law-abiding citizenry on that block, and filling the former Chamber of Commerce space on the corner would go a long way to alleviating these vagrancy-related problems. Of course, this would only push these same offenders down the street — but winning this battle a block at a time is a good start.

by Rik Dalvit

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