Sudbury business owner calls the state of downtown 'urban decay'
SUDBURY -- A businessman in Sudbury says the city needs to do something about several issues that are keeping people away from the downtown core.
Tony Monteleone, who owns two buildings and three businesses, said petty crimes and a feeling of uneasiness are keeping people away from downtown.
"They are putting graffiti on every building downtown," Monteleone said. "They are throwing garbage on the streets, the needles on the streets, riding their bicycles on the sidewalks."
He recently paid more than $1,000 to remove graffiti from a large wall on his building. This past weekend, it was struck again.
It's just one of the issues Monteleone has concerns about.
He said loitering is a big problem that is scaring people from the downtown core.
"If you don't have a vibrant downtown in a city, you don't have city," Monteleone said. "You need a vibrant downtown and they are used to being safe, walking the streets not being accosted from panhandlers."
Greater Sudbury Police said its central community response unit is responsible for the downtown core. Officers conduct proactive patrols on bicycles and foot, allowing them to engage with people.
"It's really about addressing some of the root causes that affect public perception of safety in the downtown core," said Kaitlyn Dunn, of the Greater Sudbury Police Service.
"So that could be anything from mental health, to addiction to homelessness. So it's going out and speaking with individuals and providing them with access to support services in order to address those root issues."
For his part, Monteleone said people are also missing out on enjoying Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury.
"People that are sleeping there, they are going to the washroom there, they are throwing their garbage there and the park should be for everyone," he said.
Monteleone said he would like to see more police officers hired in Sudbury, a shelter to replace the accommodations of the former Salvation Army and for the city to take a serious look at the issues affecting what he calls "urban decay."