People’s Park in Berkeley was closed down early Wednesday morning for scheduled construction on housing projects for UC Berkeley students and unhoused people, according to university officials.
When work began early Wednesday, police removed two or three unhoused people who remained in the park. Video from Berkeleyside showed dozens of officers moving toward the park. The individuals removed had been previously offered shelter, the UC spokesperson said.
The project will preserve more than 60% of the park’s green space and memorialize its past historical significance, a university spokesperson said.
Overnight camping was prohibited at the park starting Tuesday night. Unhoused people gathering and sleeping at the park were provided with access to transitional housing as well as a daytime drop-in center, thanks to a coordinated effort from the state of California, the city of Berkeley and local nonprofits, the university said.
It was unclear what steps would be taken if those people remained at the park.
Surrounding streets will be closed for the next few days. Initial work starting Wednesday includes the placement of construction site fencing; removal of trees from and around the footprints of the new buildings; and dismantling the stage and temporary kitchen that stopped operations in the early spring.
Source: NBC Bay Area