Parks and Rec Continues Events in Douglass Park Despite Violence

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Recreation will be holding a kite flying contest tomorrow at Douglass Park. Last week, it held an Easter Egg Hunt in a park that has been recently known for near-by violence.

Since 2010, there have been multiple instances of violence or disturbances in the area, including a deadly shooting near the park in March.

Columbia Parks and Rec said it will continue using the park for as a location to hold events in hopes of bringing a positive contribution to the first ward area.

"What we have been doing as a department, in this division," said Camren Cross, of Columbia Community Recreation. "We've been reaching out more to certain organizations and churches and things of that nature to come and bring events to the park."

The Columbia Police Department said that while the area has seen more police attention, holding events in the park should be encouraged. They also said that while there have been violent incidents in the area, the park itself has been safe.

"We've had 22 shots fired since the beginning of the year, none of which have occurred in the park itself," said Columbia Police Department's Latisha Stroer. "It's occurred around the area or in central Columbia but not actually in the borders of the park."

Parks and Rec also said it has never had any issues with violence or safety in its events.

"We're going to keep putting on our events because people do come, and we've never had issues there," said Cross. "So with any of our events, it's our job to put activities out there in the park and give the community some fun activities to attend."