Barbara M. Asher Square Declared "Eyesore"
In a story by the Associated Press on the New York Times website said that plans are being made to clean up Barbara M. Asher Square in Atlanta, Ga. Recently, there have been complaints of too much litter, and an increasingly rising population of homeless persons congregating there. The square is not technically considered a park, so all the parks department can do is care for the trees and bushes, said spokeswoman Myra Reese. However, the department of public works is responsible for keeping it clean, but that is proving to be an almost impossible task. Deputy Commissioner for Public Works, Donna Owens, said “there are men and women who walk through the area all day de-littering...And as quickly as it is de-littered, it is littered again. It would be easier for us to keep it clean if people were not loitering. "
The city of Atlanta is so upset about this because the square is the first thing many tourists see when they visit, as it is on the central Five Points Marta transit system, which carries many people from the Airport to their hotels, and is
near the Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena and the convention center. Councilman Kwanza Hall said that there are plans under way to put police cameras in the square.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website mentions many of the same facts as the A.P. stories, but then focuses on Barbara M. Asher, herself, who had served as an Atlanta councilwoman for 18 years, and had the park named after her three years after her death. It includes a quote from Hall: "Any place that is named for a person deserves a greater level of attention,...We have put a lot more energy around the John Wesley Dobbs [Memorial in the King Historic District]. And we will do the same for Barbara Asher Square."
This version also goes into more detail about police plans to clean up the park: 'MARTA Chief of Police Wanda Dunham said the goal of her officers is to keep people moving. If people are not catching a bus or train, they are encouraged to move from MARTA property.'
Personally, I felt that all the versions of this story were a little unfair to homeless people, as every one of them mentioned how they smelled like urine and marijuana, which I feel perpetuates the stereotypes about homeless people, and how they need to be "taken care of."