There has been an ongoing problem in one of our small city parks for years, and it seems that nobody absolutely cares about it. It is the chronic drinking and drugging of the homeless and non-homeless individuals who hang out in Paquin Park, behind the Paquin Tower at the corner of Paquin and Waugh streets. The park is owned and operated by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
The park is located directly behind the Lee Elementary School over on Locust Street which makes this issue even more imperative to be looked at by our City Council for an ordinance to either be issued or to be reworked so this issue is not allowed to go on.
Many have asked the Columbia Parks and Recreation to ask the City Council to enact a "No Drinking/Zero Tolerance Ordinance" for this park to no avail, even though there have been numerous reports were made to the Columbia Police Department, Parks and Recreation ranger and other concerned agencies.
The residents of Paquin Tower who have their grandchildren who come to visit them have called the Columbia Police, the ranger of Parks and Recreation and other city entities time and time again to no avail over this issue. They do not feel safe taking their grandchildren out to the small park to enjoy an afternoon for the fear of being panhandled for money, cigarettes, sodas, food, alcohol or even drugs.
This is a serious issue as with the Lee Elementary being with in spitting distance of the Paquin Park where a lot of illegal activity does go on by those homeless and non-homeless who hang out there and leave their litter of alcohol containers and often times drug paraphernalia as well. To a lot of people this is quite alarming that the City Council would allow this type of activities to go on so close to a school filled with preschool-age children.
Is this the type of issue parents in Columbia want to be allowed to go on near their children day after day? One would hope not, that is for sure.
If you have children who attend the Lee Elementary and are concerned about this issue, or if you have children in any school here in Columbia you should be concerned about this issue as well since it is the children that can or could be influenced, or worse, harassed by these kinds of issues that not only happen in this small city park but also in others around our city.
Please take a stance against these kinds of things and contact your local wardsman, mayor, city manager, police chief, public schools superindendent and all other concerned individuals who you think might be able to step up into this fight to get this issue resolved and take action to further safeguard the children and to shield them from these types of issues in our city.