MOUNT VERNON — Several Knox Pages readers have asked about the homeless tent along the banks of the Kokosing River at the intersection of Harcourt Road and Ohio 229. Now that the trees have dropped their leaves, it is more visible to passers-by.
Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said the Clinton Township trustees contacted him about the camp on Dec. 6, 2022. Three people are staying there: a father, son, and a female.
“We've been down there several times,” Shaffer said. “Our guys have taken trash bags and passed out information to keep it clean.”
Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville said he, too, was contacted by the trustees about four to six weeks ago. At that time he was told the property belonged to the state.
“I called the Ohio State Highway Patrol and spoke to a lieutenant, and they said they will try to send out someone to clear the area,” McConville said.
Clearing the area is not as clear-cut as it might seem.
“If we chase them from there, they're either going back into the city or back into Clinton Township,” Shaffer said. “That will be a different set of problems.
“If there was a request from the property owner, or their representative, we could take action based on recommendations from the county prosecutor or city law director,” he said.
Another reader asked why the homeless aren't taken to the Winter Sanctuary homeless shelter.
“They are denying any help or assistance. They don't want to go,” Shaffer said. “They've been offered assistance before and declined it. There's that whole segment of the population that does not want to go to the shelter because there are rules.”
Other than recovering a stolen bike that was left in the area in December, Shaffer said there have been no incidents at the camp.