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Questions raised over closing and restrictions at city parks Memorial Day weekend

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis Metropolitan Police call it a traffic management strategy.  Barricades blocked all vehicle entrances to Fairground Park Sunday.  Visitors driving to O’Fallon Park were asked to show identification and proof of auto insurance.

21st ward alderman Antonio French says the practice has been in place for the past several Sundays.  He expressed his displeasure through social media.  He sent messages on Twitter showing a picture of the barricaded Fairground Park.

“We don’t think it’s any way to police a neighborhood,” said French.  “That’s not something to be proud of.  We want to see a full park, where people feel welcome and safe.”

French says he’s asked the police department for two full time park rangers to be assigned to each park.  The police department says each park in the City of St. Louis is patrolled, and officers will maintain enforcement in parks as the weather warms up.

Some park visitors we talked with supported the barricades.  They said cruising has been a problem on Sundays.  Many others were opposed to the idea.

“The message that it sends is that they can do anything with our tax money,” said one visitor.

French has collected signatures from citizens in an effort to bring full time park rangers to each park.

“This is not a success when we have an empty park on a holiday weekend,” said French.

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  • jad

    Insurance for WHAT? Car, home, rental, boat, life, burial,home,…what kind of insurance are they talking about and WHY WHY? I just don’t get it. Its a public park that we pay for in our taxes. Please enlighten me.

  • christia

    They can walk the park show their faces make it safe that way not shut it down are just sit at the entrances and collect I’d and insurance because anybody can just walk into the park.

    • Cit Riverview

      It has a two fold reason to do as the police are operating. One its a impromptu ability to check for warrants and driving without insurance. the side bar is if there an warrant, then they can check for guns. Now do you feel safe?

    • Cit Riverview

      PS the reason they police don’t operate in other parks like Creve Coeur is because those who are part of the victim class that inhabits the city are those who cause the problems. Will that help you understand?

  • Matt

    As a police officer in the city for almost 17yrs, I have worked the cruising detail dozens of times and each time it got worse. The crowded interior streets made driving into the park impossible, if someone needed help it made getting to them difficult because no one would move, the clouds of weed smoke was sickening. The crowd was made up of young thugs from different gang sets who used this as a shooting gallery. Police services were limited to the rest of the districts all because of the cruising detail. The police officers working these cursing details know it doesn’t involve the good citizens of the district but the thugs, and that causes the park to be closed. If you got hurt in the park wouldn’t you want emergency services to make it to you if you needed it? With that massive crowd it is impossible. As far as the stuff at O’Fallon Park, I don’t know.

    • Cit Riverview

      “If you got hurt in the park wouldn’t you want emergency services to make it to you if you needed it?” Those who cause the problems don’t care about that. They inflect the pain, they don’t heal. Until those who are good citizen of that group decide they have a problem,Then those who ware blue will be the arbiter of how they are treated.

    • Pianki

      Look Matt. To restrict parking around the perimeter of this park from April to October from 4 to 10 P.M is just ignorant. I volunteer as a baseball coach for Mathew Dickey and my concerns is not this ignorant action is preventing volunteers from working with the youth. From the fields at Grand al the way west to the pink building there is no parking during peak idea times. Where do parents park to observe their children playing the sports. During Foot Ball seasons I have heard of vehicles being towed while practice or games are going on. I contacted St Louis City Clerk and asked for the City Ordinance that authorized the installing of these parking restrictions, even called alderman attorney Mr. Sweeney. No one was able to cite any. I have been training ball players on those field for the last 11 years, grudging with dilapidated conditions and the gambit but this takes the cake. How do handicapped access the park other than risking their lives crossing Natural Bridge and plowing their way to where they want to be. Granted there is a focused problem that needs attentions but this broad rule and regulations are affecting a wide census of civilians who have nothing to do with the central problem. That’s a violation of peoples civil rights. This and the actions in O’fallon Park are just ignorant.

    • Cit Riverview

      depends on what type of taxes your talking about. when they go into a store they pay sales taxes.

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