Controversy at the Farmer's Market
The whole controversy revolves around a sign that has been put out in recent weeks at the picnic tables on the Plaza. The sign says that only paying customers of the Farmer's Market are allowed to be there.
This means that the homeless who usually congregate at the tables are forced to find somewhere else to go.
Homeless advocate, Pat Fitzpatrick, brought the sign to the attention of City Commissioners recently, who sided with Lybrand, but asked the two sides to work something out.
Because the leasing permits for the Plaza are handled by the Police Department, city offiicials have asked them to mediate the discussion.
All of the involved parties were scheduled to have a meeting about the issue Tuesday afternoon. However Fitzpatrick says that meeting was rescheduled to a time when lawyers for both sides can be present.
Last week, the controversial sign was removed, but Fitzpatrick says Lybrand gave him no guarantee that the sign wouldn't be back this week.
"We already have people out here," said Fitzpatrick. "This is where they stay during the day. Nobody wants them off the plaza and into homes more than the homeless advocates do, but in the meantime, since we don't have that, let's don't discriminate against them because of their socio-economic status."
If the sign re-appears on any Wednesday, Fitzpatrick and a coalition of other homeless advocates say they have two options. They will either sit at the benches and refuse to buy anything at the market or they will file a civil rights lawsuit.
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