‘It’s tough staying out here’: Several people remain at Madison’s Reindahl Park past shutdown deadline

MADISON, Wis. — A handful of people are still staying at Reindahl Park in Madison following a Monday night deadline to end camping at the site altogether.

Neither city officials nor advocates who remain at the site gave an exact number of how many people were still there as of Tuesday, though News 3 Now saw dozens of tents and countless personal items remaining at the park. City crews were out tagging personal items that will, if not removed in the coming days, will be taken to a storage facility.

The city has been moving people to shelter and will continue to do so, a city official said Tuesday. When they are able, crews will begin the cleanup process, which is currently set for Thursday.

RELATED: ‘Handful’ remain at Reindahl Park as city prepares to clear site

Among those still at the park on the city’s northeast side is William Rice. Rice, who has been living at the park for a month, is one of the few who remain left to wait for a spot in more permanent housing.

“It’s tough staying out here. It’s rough,” Rice said. “If there is housing, then I will go, but other than that, I’m staying right here.”

Rice’s hope is to be placed in one of the city-sponsored shelters. 

Related: Dairy Drive campground residents settle in as Reindahl Park encampment nears shutdown

Twenty-seven people have moved into the newly-built shelter complex on Dairy Drive, and 34 people have been moved into hotel rooms, city staff told members of the City-County Homeless Issues Committee Monday night.

Pearl Foster, an activist with the group Community Action Against Reindahl Eviction, also remains at the park. She told News 3 Now she won’t leave until every person remaining receives shelter.

“There are several barriers to getting into those places,” Foster said. “If it’s not having an ID or having a record or already getting kicked out of the shelter, there are a lot of reasons why people are still here.”

Foster also worries about the remaining peoples’ health and isolation.

Meanwhile, the waiting game has taken its toll on Rice. 

“I’ll put it like this, everyone has left me. Nobody stuck by. They found housing and then they left,” he said.