Belle mayor bans loiterers from 'the tracks’ due to littering

Roxie Murphy
Staff Writer

BELLE — Belle Mayor Josh Seaver has issued a notice Aug. 25 on his Facebook page, “Josh Seaver, Mayor, Belle Missouri” that the commuter parking lot near the former Rock Island Railroad line on Alvarado Avenue is off limits to loiters because of the large amount of trash left behind.

“What does this mean?” Seaver explains. “Random congregating in this lot is forbidden. This lot may still be used as overnight parking for truckers which has been standard practice, as well as overflow parking for the restaurants and the auction house, as for being the “hangout” spot, those days are over.”

The commuter lot is commonly referred to as “the tracks.” It is used by truckers who park overnight, school-aged kids for parking and visiting, and local residents have reported an older, noisy group that congregates later in the evening hours.

“I go by every Sunday to see what shape it was in from Saturday night,” Seaver said of the area. “I went by Sunday and it looked like a tornado blew through. Trash everywhere. I went home, the wife didn’t have dinner ready yet, so I went back and picked up trash.”

Seaver said there were some kids parked at the lot while he was picking up, and two young men joined him. They picked up two trash bags worth of trash. However, Seaver said it shouldn’t be someone else’s job to have to pick up after those who are using the lot, and warns anyone who chooses to violate the notice.

“Violators will be given a warning and directive to vacate,” Seaver said. “Those choosing to ignore this could be issued a citation for loitering and or littering.”

Seaver said if the order is respected and remains clean, he may consider reviewing this decision at a future date, but for now, it is indefinite. 

The public has met the mayor’s decision with mixed reactions. Some are grateful for the decision, while others feel that the problem could be solved without a ban on gathering. Other comments claim that the kids aren’t the perpetrators.

Brenda Turner questioned why people think it is the kids and where the kids are supposed to hang out.

“So where are these kids supposed to go now?” she asked. “Because they will go somewhere and then people will complain of that area, etcetera. How about let’s focus on something/somewhere positive for these kids to do verses hang out in an empty lot.”

Turner also suggested setting trash barrels in the area.

“How do we know this mess hadn’t been blown around from the overflowing trash cans at the car wash? From storms, or even adults?”

Seaver responded to a similar comment about it not being kids who created the mess in town.

“I completely understand what you are saying,” he began. “On the other hand, without having someway to prove who is doing this, the only way to get it stopped is to cut it off for a while. It’s not fair to you guys and gals, but it’s also not fair to expect the public to have to drive past and look at that mess every weekend, have trash blowing all over town or for someone to have to go and pick it up.”

Seaver said he would revisit the issue at a later date, but for now, “it is what it is.”