Tempe spends $80K in several months to clean up homeless camps

Posted at 7:07 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 11:09:26-04

The City of Tempe will start weighing their options among the more than 30 tons of trash picked up in Papago Park recently.

Tempe says they have spent nearly $80,000 dealing with homeless camps in just three months. 

Debra Carpenter believes the trash started piling up after the city made a crucial cut roughly five years ago: the Park Ranger program.

Carpenter says it has been heart-breaking to see where the park is now.  She said it was a privilege to call herself a park ranger.

“It was the highlight of my whole life. It was the best job I ever had and I just don't know if I'll ever find anything that will replace it,” Carpenter said.

She says she dealt with all of the park problems that are now over-running the park today.

Tempe is one of the few Valley cities that does not have a ranger program.

Chandler Police Sgt. Greg Howarth said, "It takes a huge resource away from the patrol officers having to go into the parks for calls."

Chandler is spending about $200,000 a year and Howarth says it is probably saving the city in the long-run.

The Tempe City Council is meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. to go over their different options in dealing with the homeless.