Meal services at the downtown Salvation Army center have resumed after Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham requested they be suspended due to safety concerns.

Police were called twice last week to respond to fights that broke out near the site at 131 Washington Street.

A dispute on October 5 was said to have involved the use of a knife and rocks among men who were visiting the Salvation Army facility while breakfast was being served. A less-serious altercation involving teenagers reportedly occurred the previous day.

Kraham contacted a Salvation Army official after he was informed of the disputes. He said he wanted the agency to develop a "detailed plan of action" to address the problems.

Donated food for meal services was being brought into the Salvation Army center on Washington Street on October 12, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Donated food for meal services was being brought into the Salvation Army center on Washington Street on October 12, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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City Hall and Binghamton police officials discussed the issues with Salvation Army representatives on Tuesday. They agreed to implement new measures, including offering breakfast inside the center.

In an email statement to WNBF News, Deputy Mayor Megan Heiman said the measure will include changing the way "clients enter and exit the building."

A Salvation Army spokesperson said following the discussions with the mayor and neighboring business owners, the agency implemented a "revamped meal service" starting Thursday. In a statement, he wrote "while dinner service will continue to be of the grab-and-go variety in the short term, we are also exploring ways to move our dinner service indoors."

A sign at the Salvation Army center in downtown Binghamton with meal service information. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A sign at the Salvation Army center in downtown Binghamton with meal service information. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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The owner of a nearby business said conditions on Washington Street had been deteriorating. He said the public safety issues are having an economic impact and "hurting the reputation of downtown."

The business operator expressed concern that it was "only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed."

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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