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Katie Olmstead: City’s removal penalizes all of us

To the editor:

Panhandling is a long-standing issue in our downtown. Of course, poverty is more the issue and there is no easy fix, obviously. Many things have been tried over the years, including collection cans in stores, and the frog donation box. And more things will be tried in the years to come. I applaud everyone’s time and good intentions to help those in our community who are in need. Personally, I choose to not give cash to panhandlers, but if I have a spare piece of fruit on me, or a Power Bar, I may offer that.

However, I think removal of benches is penalizing all of us. People-watching or taking a moment’s rest or reading the paper (such as this one) is an important part of community. I think the benches have been relocated to good new homes, especially by the parking garage where people congregate for the farmers market. New benches should be purchased for Main Street. More benches, not fewer. Panhandlers will just sit on the ground if the benches are gone. Where will I sit?

Katie Olmstead

Northampton

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