Raleigh To Relax Ban On Food Distribution In Parks

Aug 29, 2013

Credit Dave DeWitt

A city council committee in Raleigh has agreed to review a ban on allowing food distribution in a downtown city park.

The council's Law and Public Safety Committee held a three-hour public hearing Wednesday to listen to residents who were angry about the ban.

It was enforced last weekend, when charitable and religious groups that normally distribute food in Moore Square were stopped by the police. They were following a 1998 ordinance preventing food distribution that officials had previously ignored.

"Let me assure you, there is nobody in this room who does not want to feed and care for those in need," said City Council member Mary-Ann Baldwin, who presided over the hearing.

"Based on the conversations I've had - the many conversations I've had - over the past few days, I think the point of contention is how we do that. People here have a lot of passion, but they're also reasonable and they want to do the right thing.  I think we're closer than most people realize to coming up with a solution. But I also feel that the solution is bigger than just dealing with the feedings."

The City Council plans to gather more information and discuss the issue again in November.