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Kingsport bench blocks: Crime deterrent or attack on homeless?

MATTHEW LANE, Kingsport Times News • Sep 24, 2019 at 2:17 PM

KINGSPORT — The Model City last week installed wooden blocks on the flat benches in Glen Bruce Park and along the Kingsport Greenbelt.

City leaders say the measure was done to help address the criminal activity taking place in those locations and is one part of a larger plan to manage the homeless situation in town. However, opponents to the measure are calling the wooden blocks “hostile architecture” and say the city is being heartless and cruel for installing them.

A picture of the benches in Glen Bruce Park went viral on social media over the weekend and an online petition calling for the removal of the blocks had received more than 4,500 signatures by Monday evening.

During a town hall meeting Monday evening at the Lynn View Community Center, where the topic of homelessness took up much of the discussion time, Mayor Pat Shull said he stands behind the city’s decision 100 percent. More about the benches from the Kingsport Times News.

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