City Plans Improvements to Douglass Park
COLUMBIA - Officials said Thursday the city is studying ways to make Douglass Park safer, but these plans were already in place before the shooting on March 12.
Parks & Recreation Director Mike Hood said the city has already added lighting and trimmed trees to make it easier for police to see into the park. He said Parks & Rec is considering adding security cameras, but has not decided whether or not to do so. The park currently has two cameras.
Police dispatch data show that since March 1, one assault and one disturbance have been reported in the park.
Hood said Parks & Rec wants to put on as much programming in the park as possible to encourage children to use their free time in a positive way. He said the park's water playground will open on May 1. The city is also preparing its summer baseball and basketball leagues.
Hood said the park itself doesn't cause any crime problems, but problems spill over into the park, a sentiment echoed by park users. Tony Goldman said people come to the park every day and don't cause any problems. Oshoana Edwards said she would love to enroll her son in the summer baseball program but is afraid to because of disturbances that happen in the park.
Hood said Parks & Rec will meet again with community representatives to discuss park improvements in late April.