harborside park

Chula Vista Shutting Down Harborside Park for 90 Days to Clear Out Encampments

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The Chula Vista City Council voted unanimously to temporarily shut down Harborside Park. The park, which sits next to an elementary school, has been overtaken by homeless encampments, according to city leaders.

A chain link fence and tarp are the only things separating neighboring Harborside Elementary School from what the school's superintendent calls "horrors" happening next door at the park.

"Right now we're risking something horrible happening," Superintendent Dr. Eduardo Reyes said." "They're being exposed to illegal drug use, different crimes. We're finding needles on the ground, different drug paraphernalia. It is a very unsafe situation for students."

The City Council called the park a public health and safety crisis and voted unanimously to close it down.

"I live in that area, I cant send my kid to that school. I have an older kid who went to that school and graduated years ago and he could never use the park because of the same element."

Issues at the park were on full display in pictures Park Rangers presented during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

"Feces on the playground, drugs, razor blades and weapons in the bathroom, even deaths," a Ranger said describing the state of the park to councilmembers.

The bathrooms have been locked and playground equipment has been removed.

Harborside Park is the most troublesome in the city, according to Chula Vista police, with double the amount of service calls than any other park and at least 24 arrests so far this year
for things like narcotics violations, wanted felons and possession of illegal weapons.

Raien Perry, who lives in the park, says he's aware of the issues but still considers it a safe space.

"There is safety in numbers," he said. "When we go out on our own, people tear up our stuff, slice our tents."

The closure will last for at least 90 days. For now, Perry and other residents are planning their next move.

"[I'll] go to G Street Park. We'll go to a bigger place. They've got showers over there," he said.

The city says notices of the park closure will start going out this week. On Aug. 31 they expect to have outreach groups at the park to relocate people. 
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