Tuesday night the Redding city council approved a plan to fence off South City Park, an area police say is a hotspot for camping and illegal activity.
“There is a big criminal element down there,” Redding police chief Roger Moore said. “And it completely absorbs all of our resources.”
The project comes after former mayor and general manager of the Colt 45s baseball team Rick Bosetti was allegedly attacked while working at the ballpark.
Moore says, in the last six months officers have had to visit the park 625 times.
“Now I'm not saying everybody down there is a criminal, but by and large there is a lot of folks doing bad things down there,” Moore said.
The fence would surround the entire park including the parking lots and would be available to the public by reservation only.
But some say that won't fix the problem.
“Fencing off the park isn't going to solve the problem,” homeless advocate Virginia Adorador said. “It isn't going to help the problem. It isn't going to do anything except make Rick Bosetti happy.”
Adorador is in South City Park every week feeding the people who stay there.
She says there are some bad apples, but most people out here have just fallen on hard times.
“I've been coming out here for a long time,” Adorador said. “And I know a lot of these folks. And a lot of them are really good people, and they have problems like everybody else, the main one being they don't have a house.”
Adorador says fencing in the park will only make it harder for folks who are already struggling.
And the project could have unintended consequences.
“I would imagine they're going to move to the lawn in front of city hall that's nice and shady,” Adorador said. “They're there a lot in the afternoon anyways.”
Chief Moore agreed.
“And so it could be our city hall campus, it could be to these other parks nearby, it could be to our rivers, it could be to our local businesses,” he said. “So we're going to have to address that.”
Adorador says no matter what happens, a little kindness goes a long way.
“You don’t have to give someone a dollar if you see them panhandling. And you don’t have to give them a sandwich,” she said. “But you know what you can do? You can make eye contact, and you can say hi. Or you can just be kind.”
The city already has some fencing in storage that was donated by another ballpark in Vacaville.
But they still need about 500 feet of fencing to completely surround the park.
Bosetti and the Colt 45's are leading efforts to raise the funds.
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