SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Homeless people living in the woods near the Saratoga Springs Train Station are packing their things after being told to leave the property. It comes ahead of a planned sale to a developer who plans to close on a part of the land by the station next week.
“We had plans to have a cookout on Monday, but they’re all washed now,” said Ralph Weddle, who’s lived in a tent in the woods on and off for the last three years.
He’s one of over a dozen people who live in an encampment that is spread out throughout the woods surrounding the station’s parking lot. It’s an encampment that city officials believe has likely existed for over a decade.
Many of them received a letter from Markwood Enterprises, a company based in California. The letter tells them they have to be off the property by this coming Monday.
“Look for another place, try to find more storage, I’ve been asking around if people can store stuff for me,” Weddle said.
It comes as city officials say a developer is set to buy a part of the land by the station next week. Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino says the real estate broker reached out to police about removing the homeless. Anyone who stayed beyond July 4th was asked to be charged with trespassing.
“The problem is that the area was never enclosed, there was never any posting, no trespassing signs, nothing of the sort, so under the law, a person is not unlawfully present,” Montagnino explained.
Montagnino says he’s spoken with Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim, who says those involved with the sale have agreed to slow down the process, “It would give months for the possibility of us to get some services to folks who are living there, try to get them relocated to a better spot.”
Despite this, Weddle and his sister are both planning to be out by Monday, “I kinda like it in a way, but I can live anywhere.”
News10 reached out to Markwood Enterprises but did not receive a response.