Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I really wish the Chamber of Commerce would shift its focus from the panhandlers out by Giant City Road and Wal-mart to those that work around the town square. The Giant City road folks are passive, they sit there with a sign and motorists can choose or not to give money as they wish.

The town square panhandlers are much more aggressive. As I have a business in the area and walk around it frequently, I get asked for money a couple of times a month. However, this past weekend, I saw a couple of them acting fairly pushy. One latched onto a small group walking from The Cellar, following them north across the parking lot until finally one of the group handed him some money. The other was the guy who rides his bike around downtown asking for money. He biked in alongside a pickup that had just parked and blocked the driver's exit with his bike while he asked for spare change.

If you want to stand around downtown with a cup and a can, that's fine. Much like out on Giant City, people can then choose to give or not. But having someone getting in your face asking for money will make them think twice about coming downtown to eat next time, choosing places like Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings or Fat Bottom Betty's instead. Even just increasing foot police presence in downtown, instead of sitting in a car in the parking lot at the corner of Illinois and College, would help.

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