KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Clearing a protester encampment out of Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park cost the city more than $15,000, newly obtained documents show.
24 Hour News 8 requested a breakdown of the costs for the park eviction from the city, through the Freedom of Information Act.
The biggest expense was to Kalamazoo’s Public Services Department. Its invoice dated Sept. 19 totals $9,666.12. That includes $4,459.65 in labor for cleaning the park, as well as $2,055.04 for equipment and $3,151.43 to restore the park and dispose of waste left behind by the protesters.
The Kalamazoo parks and recreation spent $1,810.64 in labor and equipment for the park cleanup, according to its invoice.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says it paid $5,428.99 in overtime to the nearly two-dozen police officers who worked to clear the encampment, distributed plastic totes for those who needed them, issued tickets to eight people for illegal camping, and taking 14 people into custody for violating ordinances or breaking the law.
Ten of those people were arraigned last week on charges that included misdemeanor crossing a police line, violating the city’s ordinance by continuing to camp in the park, and disobeying a police officer.
Tensions between city leaders and protesters at the camp simmered for weeks before coming to a head on Sept. 19, when city officials ordered campers to empty the park, citing a city ordinance banning camping in the park without the city’s written consent.
The campers are demanding more housing options and social services for people who are homeless in Kalamazoo.
City leaders have said they will continue talks to solve the issues identified.