WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — City parks are designed to be fun, safe places that people of all ages can enjoy.
But after a four-year-old boy recently found a gun in a Wilmington Park, some city employees started designing a plan to try and prevent a similar situation in the future.
Every day hundreds of people take in the view at Greenfield Lake, walk their dog at Empie Park or take their kids to Halyburton park to play on the slide.
“We come about two to three times a week,” said one mom, who did not want to giver her name, as she and her family enjoyed a city park. “We love the park.”
But some visitors say that not every visit they have to their favorite green space goes as planned.
“There’s some parks that are just very busy, and you don’t think that you can keep up with your children, and it just makes you very nervous,” the mom said.
To try and make the park experience more enjoyable, city staff along with Wilmington Police and the Parks and Recreation Department have been working together to draw up a street gang prohibition ordinance.
“This is a step that they can take to keep these spaces safe for their intended purpose, which is enjoyment and safety in a place where people can be and not feel intimidation from a gang member,” City Spokesman Dylan Lee said.
Lee says the ordinance will ban all known gang members from stepping foot on any city park or city-owned facility. The hope is that by denying access to areas where kids play, the growth of gangs will slow.
“Gangs like to recruit, so not only would we be eliminating gang activity, but also recruitment of gang members,” Lee said.
Lee says the ordinance will be on the City Council agenda at the Sept. 17 meeting.