Columbia’s Downtown Community Improvement District says the Wabash bus station downtown is “not an acceptable place for long-term camping and sheltering,” and they’re calling on the city to end camping and 24-hour access there.
District executive director Nickie Davis has written a letter to Mayor Barbara Buffaloe and the city council, on behalf of the district board. The letter says that area has become a hostile environment for downtown businesses, their customers and residents. The letter also describes the Wabash as “unsuitable for our unsheltered friends.” The letter also indicates that a city opportunity campus homeless shelter is likely many years away, and suggests the issue will not be solved “in our lifetimes.”
“We will happily continue to meet with any party with thoughtful and progressive ideas to help our unsheltered friends while keeping small businesses in mind,” Davis writes.
The Wabash station has frequently been used by the city during bitterly cold winter weather.
The District board also wants to see a stronger police presence downtown, along with quicker response times when 311 is called.
The council will hear a report on this issue tonight: it is not an action item, which means the council will not be voting on it.