Community Leaders Working to Make Douglass Park Safer

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COLUMBIA - After another shooting at Douglass Park, local leaders said Monday they are looking for a way to keep the park safe.

The Columbia Police Department responded to shots fired on June 29, and arrested Anthony Jay Prince in connection with the shooting later that day. There have been several incident of shots fired at the park in recent years.

Douglass Park Baseball Coordinator Sam Brady said he has spoken with First Ward City Council Member Ginny Chadwick about the problems at Douglass Park. Chadwick has suggested many plans for Douglass Park including a new skate park, and, most recently, a ban on alcohol. Currently, the Columbia city code only prohibits alcohol on sidewalks, streets, parking lots and at certain parks.

"I know we can do it, but it's going to take all of us," Brady said. "It's going to take our community, our police department, it's going to take Ms. Chadwick and her hard work, it's going to take our elected officials, it's going to take all of us. It's going to take the people that congregate here."

Chadwick specifically named Douglass Park in a statement regarding the ban of alcohol in all city parks. Although Chadwick said she named Douglass Park because that's where she takes her children, some Douglass Park goers said Chadwick named Douglass Park because of the large black community at the park.

"I'm not saying there's not race issues in Columbia because there is," Brady said. "There's race issues everywhere, but we don't handle this issue with keeping our parks safe by calling good people racists, that's not."

Brady said he wants everyone to work together to keep the park safe for the kids. He said the people who come to the park care about the park, but the community has to do more.

"Our kids don't need to see our park destroyed with broken beer bottles, broken alcohol bottles, beer cans scattered everywhere," Brady said.

Brady said he is in contact with Chadwick about safety at the park.