Public safety concerns have made it impossible to enjoy extracurricular activities once enjoyed in the inner city by residents who sought refuge from the homeless.
It is unclear if the latest effort to clean up Los Angeles' MacArthur Park won't be met with the same controversies that have been seen in other parts of the city over the past months. In March, hundreds of protestors blocked city crews from clearing an Echo Park homeless camp. Several were also arrested.
Ironically, on the opposite side of the spectrum was a "safe camping” program that protected tents in Venice Beach from being removed. Residents and vendors both protested the move, while others called for Mike Bonin's recall.
DENVER PARK WILL CLOSE TEMPORARILY AFTER HUMAN Waste, NEEDLES FOUND; CHALLENGES EACHED 'TIPPING POST'
Joe Buscaino, L.A. City Councilman, launched a 2022 mayoral campaign centered around addressing the state homelessness. He spoke to Venice Beach supporters in June before a homeless lady pulled a knife from her feet, declaring she would start murdering people and several officers confronted her.
Alex Villanueva, a frustrated Sheriff of Los Angeles County, fought Bonin by sending foot patrols along the boardwalk and requesting that tents be removed by July. He organized efforts to relocate 200 homeless people into motels.
Gil Cedillo, L.A. City Councilman, stated that MacArthur Park would be closed beginning Oct. 15, for approximately ten weeks. The Department of Recreation and Parks of the City will resume necessary maintenance delays during the coronavirus pandemic. This was reported by the Los Angeles Times. On Sept. 29, his office found about 45 tents spread across 32 acres of park, which was divided by Wilshire Boulevard.
Jose Rodriguez, Cedillo's deputy district director, said that some of the outreach was hampered by MS-13 gang members, who use violence and extortion to intimidate anyone visiting their territory.
The cleanup will cost $1.5million and include new lighting, replanted grass, irrigation system repairs, and benches.
An estimated 41,000 people live on the streets of Los Angeles at present, and that number is expected to increase once eviction moratoriums are lifted. Many migrants from Central America and Honduras are known to live in parks with other homeless people, many of whom have a history of drug addiction. The problem extends to parks in the United States, including those in New York City and Minneapolis.
The city of Denver announced last month that Civic Center Park would close starting Sept. 15. They cited "significant public health, environmental health risks" that had increased over the past few months. Officials noted that there were many dangerous conditions in the park, including food waste and litter, as well as rodent infestations and human and animal waste. These factors contribute to disease spread and can impact water quality.
People visiting the park and those who work in maintaining it were also at risk from improperly discarded needles, and other drug paraphernalia. Officials from the city stated that professional restoration will be required for graffiti and fire damage to historical stone structures.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock stated that "the current challenges in Civic Center Park have reached an extreme point, creating conditions which put the public's safety and health at risk." This cannot and will never be allowed to continue. This is the people's playground and we are making efforts to ensure everyone feels safe and welcome there once more.
It was not clear when the park would close for cleanup.