LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — The parking deck located at 111 W. Third St. in Lexington has become an unofficial homeless shelter, according to some residents who are calling for action to address the issue.
Ronnie Cox, a resident of Lexington, said that people have nowhere else to go, so they end up sleeping in the deck.
“You walk up through the stairwell…people are laying in sleeping bags on the floor, and it just smells of urine and trash in there,” Cox said.
The deck is situated in a prime location across from the Davidson County Courthouse, which sees hundreds of people come in and out daily. However, residents are unhappy with how things are being managed, citing safety concerns.
“People are sleeping in there, and nothing has been done about it. You know anybody can hide down there. It’s a perfect place under that stairwell for someone to stalk a victim,” woman, or child. It would be very easy because you wouldn’t see it at all,” Cox said.
Casey Swicegood, another resident of Lexington, said that while he doesn’t have a problem with homeless people staying in the stairwell, he wishes there was a better solution.
“I do wish there was a better solution, especially when it’s so cold, but I guess it’s the only place they know they can come and get out of it,” Swicegood said.
Director of Facilities Maintenance for Davidson County Dwayne Childress was unavailable for comment.
He did report to us that he was aware of the parking deck issues and had already taken steps to fix them. Crews were sent to the deck on Thursday morning to deodorize and clean both stairwells.
The county also plans to work closely with the sheriff’s office to keep officers in the deck as they’re going in and out of the courthouse, but some residents feel that this is not enough.
“To me, what’s the good in having a sheriff sit in there? Ain’t no sheriff going to sit in there in that smell and monitor who comes in and out. They’d have to be in there all night, and if they run them off from here, they’ll just go to another place,” Cox said.
Starting next week, the county plans to send out a maintenance technician who will be going through the deck weekly. Currently, there aren’t any signs posted saying no trespassing, but the policy will reportedly be reviewed.
Residents in the area hope the county comes up with a more permanent solution for those who feel like the deck is their only option.
“It would be nice to see if they could get homes for the less fortunate or literally just something,” Cox said.