ST. LOUIS - This wouldn't happen in other neighborhoods. That's what St. Louis Alderman Antonio French tells NewsChannel 5 after police barricaded the entry to Fairground Park in north St. Louis.
Residents had a chance to express their outrage Tuesday night but, the issue never even came up. The format of Tuesday's budget meeting provided the public with plenty of time to comment and we heard from more than a dozen people on all kinds of topics.
Alderman French was hoping for a big turnout about the Fairground Park issue, but no one said anything.
"What are you shutting it down for we pay taxes so why we gotta have the park shut down," said neighbor Maurice Davis.
"This is our Forest Park, this is where we come, this is where we fish, and we should have the same level of protection as any other park in the city," said French.
For several Sundays now, police have been putting up gates at all entrances blocking traffic from entering. Police Chief Sam Dotson replied Tuesday saying it's a traffic management strategy to stop cruising.
"What's going to happen this weekend, we are going to manage traffic at our parks, just like we have for the last couple of years couple of cars into the park, couple of cars out of the park, keep everything calm," said Dotson.
French wants to see two park rangers dedicated to Fairground Park and has given the chief a petition showing - so do the residents. Dotson says assigned rangers would not do the trick.
Since the beginning of the year there have been more violent crimes reported near Fairground Park than any other St. Louis neighborhood.
"I understand both sides of it, I understand that this community it's a lot of violence and things like that but everyone is not bad," said neighbor Angela Mitchell.
The chief says he cannot dedicate the park rangers, but there will be one assigned to the park when the pool opens in July.