56° F

Chester Creek Greenbelt Residents Say Outdoor Death All Too Familiar

Published On: Feb 14 2014 10:49:58 PM AKST   Updated On: Feb 14 2014 10:51:49 PM AKST

Reporter Samantha Angaiak, Photojournalist Eric Sowl


One day after a body was found in the Chester Creek Greenbelt, area residents said it's a situation that's all too familiar in their neighborhood.    

Locals said much of the foot traffic in their neighborhood comes from homeless inebriates.

David Sipos who has lived in the area since 1996 says he's seen the situation before.

"Past 4 or 5 years there has been I'd say 4 or 5 bodies that have been discovered in the area," Sipos said.

Residents say their neighborhood is well-traveled, but not always for the right reasons.

"Sometimes there'll be people hanging out here, the homeless eating or smoking or congregating drinking too," Sipos said.

Cheryl Forrest, the treasurer of the Rogers Park Community Council says she's seen people sleeping on the ground close to her home.

"It's just part of the neighborhood," Forrest said.

Michael Bunton, the Associate Pastor for the Shiloh Baptist Ministry church said his church is spreading the message that there is help available when the cold is too much.

"When the shelters are over-filled, the churches act as a conduit to house those who are without shelter whether it be families, fathers, mothers," Bunton said.

The emergency cold weather program, Bunton says, is run by the municipality along with other local church groups.

"Not only do we house them, but we also give them resources so that they can be able to find their way throughout the municipality, the state, other community services," Bunton said.

While the program is one alternative, community members are continuing to search for permanent solutions.

"Unless you have it intensely patrolled, I don't know if there's a way to eliminate it," Sipos said.

For Forrest, it's all a part of being a good neighbor.

"We're neighbors, we're supposed to take care of one another whether I know your name or not,"