The closing of SEPTA's Somerset Station in Philadelphia's Kensington section is taking its toll on business owners.
- Kensington business owner says his neighborhood has reached a critical point. He says the same problems that led to the shutdown of a local septa station there have now flooded over onto the streets. And he says it's hurting his business. He's now calling on the city for help. Action News community journalist Ashley Johnson has the story.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: Disturbing cell phone video out of Kensington shows the harsh reality of what a long-time business owner is up against.
ANDREW FLITTER: It's infested with people who do heroin right on our corner. We just can't get rid of these people who are just shooting up in front of the store, in front of kids.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: Andrew Flitter has owned Bob's Check Cashing on Kensington Avenue for 34 years. His business is directly across from the Summerset Station, which septa shut down indefinitely for repairs and cleanup. While it sparked protests, a big reason was due to the increased number of homeless and drug dealers inside the station as well as an uptick in crime.
ANDREW FLITTER: Somebody threw something at my head, hit me in the head. A lot of them are not nice people.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: Flitter said all the riffraff going on inside the septal station has moved directly in front of his stores. He also shared videos of churches or nonprofits handing out food every week. Flitter said the efforts only make the nightmare even worse.
ANDREW FOOTER: They're making it OK for them to sit there, do drugs all day, and then they bring them food. And they don't even eat the food.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: A septa spokesperson said the agency understands the frustration of business owners and that septa is working hard to be a part of the solution.
ANDREW BUSCH: To increase security, first and foremost, get-- have additional resources for people who need help.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: Now, the Kensington business owner shared that a big part of the problem is many of the people doing the drugs come from the suburbs or out of state. He said the worst case scenario is this part of history repeating itself.
ANDREW FLITTER: And I see little kids walking by during the day. And they shoot up right there, and you know, they see these people high. You just don't want them to fall into it and think it's OK.
- The Kensington business owner says right now, the whole community is at a critical point, and like many who protested yesterday, he's holding on to hope. In Kensington, Ashley Johnson, channel six, Action News.