Councilman calls downtown park a 'failed public space' - WSMV News 4

Councilman calls downtown park a 'failed public space'

Posted: Updated:
News 4 found items stored by homeless people in Church Street Park. (WSMV) News 4 found items stored by homeless people in Church Street Park. (WSMV)

The News 4 I-team first showed the video Thursday night of a man beating another with a stick at the Church Street Park.

We revealed police have been called to the downtown public library and the area around it 900 times in the last three years for everything from public intoxication to assaults.

Metro Councilman Freddie O'Connell, who represents District 19, said many of those crimes are taking place in the park and it's impacting the people who live and work nearby.

"I now have multiple residents who don't feel safe walking by this park," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said he's not just bothered by the crime in the park, there's also the fact that people store their belongings in the park.

News 4 went there Friday and found people, many of them homeless, sitting surrounded with bags full of their possessions.

"Now it's starting to be a locker room," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said Metro Parks isn't doing enough to address the issues, and he suggested the Nashville Downtown Partnership take over.

"Maybe we should consider that if parks is not up to the level of effort that's necessary to run this park," he said.

Jim Hester, the assistant director for Metro Parks, wasn't available for an on-camera interview on Friday.

He said they've had multiple meetings to discuss the issue and they've explored the idea of providing a place for the homeless to store their belongings, but haven't come up with a solution yet.

Hester said his department would be happy to work with anyone who has a potential solution.

"This has gone on for almost a year now," O'Connell said.

There are signs, cameras and two officers keeping watch at the park every day, but they're flex officers who come from other precincts.

O'Connell also had concerns about that.

"They're not out of Central Precinct, so frequently you have people who are less familiar with the context of downtown, less engaged with the context of downtown, and that's another thing I think we ought to examine," O'Connell said.

Metro police said if citizens want Central Precinct officers to patrol the park, they can do that, but it would mean taking those officers out of the neighborhoods and away from their regular patrol.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Councilman calls downtown park a 'failed public space'More>>

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.