ST. LOUIS – A north St. Louis alderman’s passionate plea to residents – take care of O’Fallon Park or don’t be in it at all.
Alderman John Collins-Muhammad’s ongoing push for a safer and cleaner park continues. The alderman said it isn’t the first time he’s put out such a request and it probably won’t be the last. He added that the city and its residents will have to step up and do their part.
Filthy lake water, scattered empty beer cans, and trash could be seen littered all over O’Fallon Park on a warm April day Wednesday.
It’s been a common sight during the many Fox 2 reports about the state of the park since 2017. Nearly two years later, the alderman said it seems nothing has changed.
In a recent Facebook post, Collins-Muhammad was once again pleading with people who use the park, to clean it up and keep it looking nice.
“Summertime is not even here, it’s barely creeping up and already I can see how this summer will look,” he said.
Alexis Edwards believes the alderman has every right to expect proactive action from people who use the park.
“If we want something nice then we have to treat it nicely first,” she said.
The mother of two said that while she loves coming to the park regardless of the trash, the safety of herself and her children is always on her mind.
“Trigger happy people who feel if they have the guns then they are protected but those are the people who are out there looking for trouble,” she said.
When it comes to maintaining the quality of the park and fighting crime, Collins-Muhammad said he has been trying different, potentially effective ways to get his message out.
One of those tactics even included shutting the park down twice last year.
“If it takes a drastic measure to get something done to bring awareness to this issue then I would do it again,” he said.
Collins-Muhammad said he’s not only looking for park users to do their part but the city as well.
“I need the mayor to give me police officers in this park. I need the police commissioner to put police officers in this park,” he said.
Fox 2/KPLR 11 reached out to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. A spokesperson said total crime in the O’Fallon Park neighborhood is down over 71 percent from a year ago.
We also inquired with the mayor’s office. A spokesperson said there’s been an increased presence of park rangers and cracking down on illegal activity, and the city parks department is working internally to improve maintenance of problem areas.
Collins-Muhammad asked for money for more police officers during last year’s budget. He said he’ll once again ask for funding to be included in next year’s budget.