April 27, 2017

Update: We Won Our Fence!

20130710_194630_zps76641378WE WON! Councilmember José Huizar and the parks department are teaming up to install a playground fence at Spring Street Park (see news here). HUGE thank you to everyone who signed and shared the petition, as well as everyone who shared photos and stories. You are the ones who made this happen! Now the politicians and developers can’t say there aren’t any families downtown or that downtown families don’t count. Go us!

The opening of Spring Street Park on June 17 was a big deal for those of us raising kids in DTLA–the park is one of only two public spaces in all of downtown set aside for children. But while we’re happy to have a new space where we can let our kids run and play, it hasn’t been all good news for downtown families. The playground was built without a fence, making it impossible to keep out dogs (especially off-leash dogs), creating a safety hazard for the young children who play there every day. In addition to the potential threat from dogs, there are also problems with people who are high, drunk and/or mentally ill hanging out in the playground area. All the more reason to have a fence.

In order to keep the playground a safe space for kids, downtown parents created a petition asking that the Friends of Spring Street Park and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council fund the building of a fence around the playground area (see petition page at Change.org). More than 100 people have signed the petition, including parents raising their children in downtown Los Angeles, grandparents who have a strong interest in protecting the safety of their grandchildren, and community stakeholders who understand the importance of maintaining a safe public playspace for neighborhood children.

Petition Signatures: Build a Fence Around Spring Street Park Playground by Alisa Rivera

I also want to share with you some of the petition comments and personal stories I have received from people who are concerned about the safety of children in the Spring Street Park playground.

Spring Street Park Playground Petition Comments

Spring Street Park Email 1 by Alisa Rivera

Spring Street Park Email 2 by Alisa Rivera

Finally, below is a series of photos forwarded to me by a parent who has snapped pictures of dogs (many off-leash) in and around the playground area.

spring_street_park's  album on Photobucket

All of the above information has been forwarded to Friends of Spring Street Park, the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) and the office of Jose Huizar, who represents downtown LA on the Los Angeles City Council. If you have additional information or photos that you’d like me to add, please leave me a note in the comments.

I’ll keep everyone posted on next steps!

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About Alisa Rivera

Alisa is a writer whose work has been featured in the Oregonian, the Syracuse Post-Standard, Latina magazine and other publications. She has also had her short fiction published in the Berkely Fiction Review and Iris: A Journal About Women. Alisa and her husband, James Hightower, have been happily raising their son, Nathan, in downtown Los Angeles since 2008. You can learn more about Alisa's work at www.alisarivera.com.

  • icebrg

    Congrats on the fence, but the dog circled in the image with the no dogs in play area sign is not in the play area.

  • DTLAFamilies

    You can’t see it from the angle, but the bench is right next to the playground equipment. You can also see other photos of dogs in the playground here: http://s1335.photobucket.com/user/spring_street_park/library/.

    • icebrg

      Thank you for acknowledging that the dog is not in the play area. Your argument would have been better served by using one of the photobucket images as your lead. We were really excited about this park when it opened, but our sentiment for it has soured because of the nastiness that have come about since its opening. It seems as though it has become a place that only a select group is entitled to use rather than a space that can be shared by the entire community. I realize that a lot of people worked hard to get the park planned and built, but this is not Gramercy Park. This park should belong to everyone. Unfortunately, we do not feel welcome there with or without our dog and no longer go to the park.

      • DTLAFamilies

        Point taken about the photo being unclear. I’ve replaced it with a photo that better illustrates what people are doing with their dogs in the playground area.