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City Heights Mini Park Neighbors Celebrate Clean Park, Curfew

Neighbors of the City Heights Mini Park celebrate the kick off of summer and ...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: Neighbors of the City Heights Mini Park celebrate the kick off of summer and new city-imposed curfew at the park. San Diego, June 14, 2019.

The City Heights Mini Park is one of five parks in San Diego that now has a city-imposed curfew. The San Diego City Council voted to implement the curfews back in March and they went into effect in May.

Now, the Mini Park's gates close at 9 p.m. and don't open until 5 a.m.

Residents of an affordable housing complex for seniors gathered in the Mini Park Friday to celebrate the unveiling of the newly cleaned up park and the month anniversary of the curfew.

"It was terrible before, it had drug use, people having sex out in the open in front of everybody, drug deals, fights. Now it's quiet as it can be, they've got a curfew here," said Everett Chastain, a neighbor.

Residents of the complex complained to community leaders about illegal activity in the park at night. They said the park was full of graffiti, litter, drug and gang activity and prostitution.

RELATED: San Diego City Council OK's Curfew At City Heights Park

Their efforts led to a curfew at the park. City officials said the curfew has helped police stop people from loitering in the park at night.

"Police is here sometimes, you can't just run people out of a park if they're just sitting in a park, so it helps the police department do their enforcement by having a curfew and now they can come on and say, 'hey the park is closed move on,'" said David Monroe, deputy director of the City of San Diego's Park and Recreation Department.

Karen Murphy, another neighbor, said she now feels safe to hang out in the park with her friends.

"We don't have gang members hanging out here claiming it's their territory anymore. No one is abusing us, throwing things at us and degrading us and it's a breath of fresh air for us. We come out here and we read our books and have chats and talk and socialize and this is what we need as seniors," Murphy said.

The city plans to hold activities like yoga, low impact aerobics, crafts and Bingo for neighbors in this park during the summer months.

By Reporter Priya Sridhar

Residents of City Heights and city officials celebrated the one month anniversary of a city-imposed curfew at the Mini Park.

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