SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Sequiota Park is known for its scenic trails and its family-friendly atmosphere, but some nearby residents are growing concerned that it could turn into a place for the homeless.
In a relatively quiet neighborhood, a manifesting problem is disturbing the peace.
“I don’t like it,” says Bruce Erb, a Springfield resident.
Erb doesn’t appreciate seeing things that don’t belong outside taking over the neighborhood he’s lived in, near Barton and Elmview for 16 years.
“By the park, believe it or not, is an old mattress laying back in there and different clothes and hangers. Gas cans, lots of alcohol bottles, and they just leave it,” say Erb.
They, meaning squatters. A problem, Erb says started after an investor bought a string of homes that remain vacant.
“It’s just a whole living quarters more or less that somebody could live in. We’ve seen an influx of strangers walking around,” says Erb.
It’s not just what squatters are leaving behind, it’s what Erb says, they’re taking with them.
“Things are starting to be missing. Chairs here and a little statue there. Just weird things and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse,” says Erb.
Although Erb hasn’t actually seen any squatters, he says their remnants could have a negative affect on Sequiota Park.
“If it keeps up, it’s just going to change the whole dynamic of the whole nature trail down here and it is a safe place for children,” says Erb.
KOLR10 reached out to the city and Springfield Police for this story, but they were unavailable for comment.