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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.


Comment on this Story

  • Guest2020

    If they are carrying at least two of the three ingredients used to make a concoction to get high, then they should be targeted the same way that one is targeted for buying too much sudafed.

  • Guest2020

    I agree with you that there shouldn’t be a rule that only allows adults with children to be in city parks. But, you are absolutely wrong when it comes to the Constitution. You don’t have a right to go anywhere you please. What are you smoking?

  • Guest2012

    I’m a WHITE ADULT woman who along with my husband use City and County Parks on (an almost) DAILY basis to walk, cycle and run WITHOUT kids. We use the parks to breathe in the fresh air. To enjoy living. To marvel at nature. To smile at the sounds of children laughing. To hear the thunderclap of a bat strike a young boys baseball as the crowd cheers in unison.

    But, you wrote something that really raised my eyebrows! In your text, when speaking about parks in Brooklyn NEW YORK you said, ” and the big rule is that only adults that are accompanied by children are allowed in the parks.”

    WHAT pipe dream are you smoking?


    WE LOVE the United States Constitution which ALLOWS us to GO ANYWHERE THAT WE PLEASE and we intend to EXERCISE that RIGHT, That PRIVILEDGE EVERYDAY of our God-Given Life.


  • BJones

    There is a much better way to deal with problems that can arise in our parks. When we visit our daughter in Brooklyn, New York there are many parks. They have rules posted and the big rule is that only adults that are accompanied by children are allowed in the parks. That’s pretty simple and nobody has to make any gang determination so it is very easy to enforce.

  • Guest-o-matic

    …because they were selected and arrested based on appearance. You know, hoodies…stuff like that when all they were doing was eating skittles and stuff.

  • Yiff

    Now they’ll start going to the county Parks :O

  • Doug Dexter

    I’m sure this is an simply an honest attempt by the municipality to appeal to gang members obvious proclivity towards being law-abiding, responsible citizens and their obvious respect for authority.

    I have a feeling this is going to be a great success..

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