LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

St. Petersburg, Florida - The St. Petersburg Police Department made several arrests in a renewed effort to clean up a troubled downtown park.

Sixteen people were arrested on various drug charges during a covert drug roundup Thursday at Williams Park, a place that has become popular with the homeless and illegal drug sale and use.

"I do get annoyed every time I go catch the bus to go home- I smell the Spice inside the air," said Keno Williams, manager of Dooner's Restaurant located right across the street from the Park.

Williams admits that dealing with the homeless is part of doing business in any downtown area.

"I have seen them out there asking customers for money you know kind of panhandling. "

Another Downtown St Petersburg business hopes Thursday's roundup by police will stick this time around.

"They're normally on the sidewalk - every once in a while they'll come around panhandling. You know, asking customers, bothering people having dinner and that kind of stuff," said Patrick Clark, manager at MacDinton's Irish Pub.

Clark has security escort employees to and from Williams Park, where they park their cars at night.

"It's a nice area of downtown that can definitely get overrun at times. The police do a pretty good job of trying to keep everything contained, and if they could get it cleaned up that would be great for business."

Many we talked to support the idea of trying to clean up Williams Park, but say it will only push those who hang out here- somewhere else.

"I think getting them off the streets is better option that just kicking them out of one place and throwing them into another," said Skyler Harrah, a student at St. Petersburg College.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wtsp.com/1fNeOw0