Police barricade drivers out of public park

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - St. Louis police have blocked residents in north St. Louis from getting into a public park this holiday weekend.

There are barricades at all entrances to Fairground Park.

Our cameras were at Fairground park Sunday afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. and it was practically empty.

The residents say this isn't fair, they understand there is crime in the area, but don't want their park taken from them.

The sign says "Welcome to Fairground Park," but the police barricades are not exactly welcoming.

"This is just a lazy approach to the security that we are asking for," says 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French.

His ward bumps up to the park and he is asking for two park rangers to be assigned to the park.

Sunday afternoon he shared with us a petition he's delivered to Police Chief Sam Dotson asking for help.

So far this is the police's answer, barricades at every entrance.

Every Sunday, Angela Mitchell and her family finds the same spot under the same tree.

This morning they found police barricades and a police officer telling them why.

"It was because of the violence that occurs on the Vandeventer and Natural Bridge edge of the park," Mitchell said.

According to police statistics, the area does have the most violent crimes since the beginning of year: 131.

"I understand that this community, it's a lot of violence and things like that but everyone is not bad, and the park is for everybody," she said.

North city residents also have O'Fallon park, but to get in you have to show your ID and vehicle insurance.

A police spokesperson sent us this statement:

Each park in the City of St. Louis is patrolled and officers will maintain enforcement in parks as the weather warms up. Officers are currently conducting traffic management strategies in Fairgrounds and O'Fallon Parks. There are currently extra patrols in Forest Park as well. The Department works to ensure all citizens and visitors can enjoy our City's parks.

French points out Forest Park is not closed to traffic.

"This is our Forest Park, this is where we come, this is where we fish," he said.

Residents tell us the other issue around Fairground park, there's not a lot of street parking. So, now they have to walk further to get to the park.


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