The Ardmore Main Street Authority board gave updates on the progress of key projects and addressed the “vagrant issue”in downtown at Thursday’s meeting.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from business owners about vagrants because it’s starting to interfere with their business,” Ardmore Main Street Director Jeff DiMiceli said. “It’s an issue we will have to figure out how to address because we don’t want to be heartless.”
DiMiceli said he has received several calls from business owners complaining of piles of trash on the sidewalk, and homeless people relieving themselves in public and, in some instances, even ruining the carpet in the business’ entryway. He said on one occasion a group of shoppers were offended after a homeless man exposed himself outside a business on Main Street while relieving himself.  
The Ardmore Fire Department received a call of hazardous material in the street around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. On arrival, fire officials found human feces on the side of a building and on the ground on B Street NW near Main Street. Crews hosed down the building and street in order to clean up the mess, and then proceeded to flush out the street into a nearby storm drain.
“I’ve not gotten a call like this in my 15 years as a firefighter,” said Chad Mansfield, Ardmore Fire Department shift manager, at the time of the incident.
In an effort to combat the issue, AMSA plans to put a third armrest in the middle of the benches downtown, creating a partition that won’t allow people to lie down. This is a measure that many urban cities have adopted. Ardmore Main Street Authority hopes that by deterring homeless people from being downtown they won’t have any more incidents like the one Thursday.
The authority also gave updates on the progress of many of their projects, like the Westheimer Plaza, moving of the Mercy Train to Depot Park, and repairs being made to the Santa Fe Depot Station.
Construction on the Westheimer Plaza was scheduled to start, but only one company bid on the project. Chairman Todd Yeager said the one bid the Main Street Authority did receive was too costly, so the Authority plans to rebid the project during the same time Ardmore bids the streetscape project. Both items should go out to bid by the middle to end of September.
“Hopefully by bidding the projects at the same time we are able to attract more interest,” Yeager said. “With more competition, the better the bid we will get.”
At Depot Park, AMSA is making some minor repairs to the Santa Fe Depot station which include replacing broken windows in the restrooms, replacing damaged blinds, and repairing community room doors. Repairs should be completed before the rental venue is available for events this fall.
The foundation on the platform that will hold the Mercy Train at Depot Park is complete. Crews will come in next week and lay the railroad ties and tracks the train will sit on. Crews will also smooth out the area around the train and lay some final concrete so that visitors can view the train up close.
At the end of next week, the final plans and date for moving the iconic train will be in place.