FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Many properties being cleared for the high-speed rail project are attracting garbage. Local business owners near Downtown Fresno say the homeless are responsible for mounds of unsightly garbage.
The garbage can be seen dumped all along the railroad tracks and on property taken over by the high-speed rail project. Business owner Jack Emerian looks at the growing mess every day and is fed up.
"It's unsanitary," he said. "Who knows what's in that pile of garbage. We've had drug dealing here, we've had prostitution here, we've had you name it and we've had to deal with it and our neighbors are sick and tired of it. We are all sick and tired of it."
Emerian and other business owners on G Street blame the homeless who frequent a nearby recycling yard and camp out on the vacant properties. Emerian says he's called the city of Fresno repeatedly, but a city spokesman says the property is owned by the High Speed Rail Authority.
Their spokesperson, Toni Tinoco, says there is a continuing effort to keep up with the mess.
"We do have our contractor going out there to pick up any trash or debris. If there are any people squatting in those buildings we will call law enforcement to make sure they are removed," she explained. "So, as we acquire those properties sometimes it does become an issue, but we try to maintain them as best we can."
A short segment of Merced Street dead-ends just before the railroad tracks and it has become a dump. It's one of many places where garbage is piling up downtown. Leo is homeless and hangs around this area, but he says the homeless are not to blame.
"You look at the trash, it's not homeless people's trash," he said. "It's people from their houses or something, they are doing a job or something they don't want to pay for the dump and they just throw it right there. I see them all the time."
Just down the street at the Fresno Rescue Mission, it's not just the homeless causing a garbage problem.
"There's a lot of well-meaning folks coming down to this area to serve food," Don Eskes with the mission explained. "And the problem is, as they distribute the food out then all the paper and the garbage is left and it creates quite a mess."
Whoever's responsible, Emerian would just like somebody to clean it up.
"We are all sensitive to the homeless issue but something has got to be done about this constant issue of the trash," he said. "Keeps piling up."
The Lamour's Dry Cleaning building has become a magnet for garbage. The High Speed Rail Authority is trying to buy the building but is tied up in court, and until that's settled the original owner is responsible.
Even if it's not city property, if you see trash in the city you can go to the FresGO app to contact city code enforcement and they are supposed to figure out who's responsible.