New measure would create safety zone in Columbia park

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia City Council members may vote next week to limit contact between some adults and children at a neighborhood park.

City staffers are working on a measure that would create a safety zone in one particular downtown park because of illegal activity there.

"You know, alcohol containers, some paraphernalia that we're concerned with," said Columbia Parks Director Jeff Canton. "We find you know condoms and other things that demonstrate that park's been used for illicit behavior."

City council members are worried enough to be on the verge of passing a unique new rule. One that sets up a safety zone to be surrounded by a fence.

Inside that safety zone, no one over the age of 12 who isn't authorized to be supervising children playing there.

The problem has mostly been confined to Roy Lynch Park.

But it is especially troublesome because the park is next door to Logan Elementary.

"This circumstance is somewhat unique to our park facilities in the location proximity to an elementary school, in the middle of a neighborhood," Canton said. "So council wants to make sure and I agree that before we look at a designation of this type that we confer with the neighborhood, that we have empirical evidence that there an issue going on."

Canton said city staff is working on language to determine how big the safety zone might be.

For now it does not appear likely to result in changes at the more than 30 other playground equipped parks in the city system.

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