GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Local homeless advocates are battling against the city, saying Colorado West Park, also known as the 'wedge', was illegally changed to a median. Making it against the law for homeless people to solicit there.
A group protested at the corner of 1st and Grand Avenue in an effort to reclaim the 'wedge'. They say they were standing up for the criminalization of houselessness in the park.
Homeless advocates say last year they agreed with the city when a law was passed making it illegal to panhandle in medians, for safety reasons. But that's before they sat the city changed Colorado West Park to a median without public input.
"It just became a non–park. With no public accountability, no public process, no public notice," says Jacob Richards, homeless advocate.
City officials say there is no illegality involved because "Colorado West Park" was never officially a park. The city says they are not certain how or when it started being referred to as a park, but at some point in the past it did.
When the City approved the new median ordinance last year, they assessed all median property and realized that piece technically fell into the median categorization.
Due to the fact it is located at the convergence of two state highways and with all the traffic there, city officials say they had to make it clear that it was a median and not a park for safety reasons.