Coleman called police and the media to the scene of a homeless camp off Allgood Road near the roundabout at the intersection Fairground Street.
“We cannot allow this in our city,” Coleman said.
Coleman told Marietta Police Officer Brittany Daniel about a vacant property that has been for sale for years off Allgood Road, Coleman said. Coleman said he found the camp after he stopped by the Quik Mart at 619 Allgood Road for a soda the day before.
“I saw a young lady going down there with a big old bottle of beer, so I went down there,” Coleman said.
He didn’t find any people in the woods, but he did discover trash and clothing — evidence of homeless people, he said.
Saturday afternoon, the woods were empty, but the area was covered with discarded liquor bottles, trash, scattered clothing and tarps hung from the trees for shelter. In the center of the cleared area was a bed frame set up with a mattress and blankets.
“You would never know something like this was happening, just driving by,” Coleman said.
Officer Daniel said what Coleman found is not unusual near downtown Marietta. Police see many homeless people on properties along Old 41 Highway.
“On 41, that’s where we get most of the calls from,” Daniel said.
About 99 percent of the restaurants, gas stations and housing properties off Old 41 Highway have worked with police to get loiterers off their property, Daniel said. Businesses can sign a trespass agreement with the police to ask vagrants to leave.
“We need them to sign a trespass agreement before we can make anyone leave the property,” Daniel said.
If the business doesn’t sign the agreement, police can’t do anything, Daniel said.
The gas station on Allgood Road, which is owned by Mahemood Budhhani, and the vacant lot next to it, which is owned by Vasa Jasti, a representative of Berkshire Hathaway, do not have agreements with the police, said Sgt. Grant Foster. Both owners did not return requests for comment.
Daniel said the homeless population that formerly frequented Old 41 Highway is now moving toward the city because the agreements those businesses signed put police on active patrol along the road.
The city has spent money on new sidewalks and the roundabout, Coleman said, and he didn’t like seeing the area cluttered with a nearby homeless campsite. He said he will be keeping police on alert about the issue.
“We need to make (police) aware that we’ve got a problem out here,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he wants to help the people who might be living there.
“Nobody’s trying to push them out,” Coleman said. “We’re trying to help them.”
He suggested getting businesses and churches in the area together to come up with a solution to help the homeless population.
“(The homeless) aren’t bad people, but they’ve got to be able to help themselves too,” Coleman said.
MUST Ministries provides hot meals, clothing and emergency shelter to those who need it in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
Its service center off Cobb Parkway near Old 41 offers employment assistance as well as food and clothing services.
Cobb residents who wish to help may donate money, supplies or volunteer hours. To become involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.