A plan from Loaves and Fishes to expand and relocate Friendship Park is drawing praise from some and criticism from others.
Friendship Park is a place where the needy can rest, but also get back on their feet.
Bernard Chiles has been coming to the park for 16 years. He’s just one of about 600 visitors who come to the park daily.
“I remember coming here and getting all my traffic tickets resolved and they helped me get a place to live,” Chiles said.
The current park is three-quarters of an acre. Loaves and Fishes’ planned new location is nearly two acres.
But Director of Advocacy Joan Burke says a larger space won’t necessarily mean more services or more people. She says the new location is primarily so people can be closer to the group’s dining room and other services.
“It will also have paved walkways, so many of our guests are in wheelchairs or they have young children, they have a stroller,” Burke said. “It will make it easier for people to access the services at Loaves and Fishes.”
Nearby business say a bigger park will bring more people, which is a concern for them.
If the city approves the plan, the new park could be completed by the end of the year.