"Child Play Zone" Could Prohibit You From Public Parks

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - This week Columbia City Council passed a controversial ordinance saying that you can't be in a city park without being accompanied by a child.

The ordinance was proposed because some community members say their parks aren't safe for children.

The City of Columbia has close to 50 public parks, its a place where children come to play, where some adults go to walk or even read a book.

In a 3-2 decision council passed a city wide ordinance that would change that.

"If an area of a park is designated as a child safety zone, it would be off limits to any adults not accompanying children," said Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.

Members of the Elmwood Neighborhood and others say their parks are a haven for those who break the law.

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine and Moe Baddourah voted against the ordinance.

Devine says this ordinance is something that would penalize those who are doing the right thing.

"Under this ordinance once a park is designated as a child safety zone, which is all lawful legal activity, that taxpaying citizens do, that would not be allowed in those areas."

Her children go to Logan Elementary and play in the Roy Lynch Park which is across the street.

She says things like doing drug, smoking and sleeping in parks are already not allowed.

"If you have concerns about someone doing something illegal, call the police that what they are there for and we have ordinances currently on the books to address that."

Residents like Ellen Blundy think the decision is a good idea.

"The park is basically a playground, its a small park and there are a lot of people that goes to that park that we are not comfortable with them being there, there are a lot of sex offenders around here and we feel that we need to make it safe for the children," said Blundy.

Council still has to vote on which parks will be designated as a "Child Safety Zones," but Devine thinks it could open the door for profiling.

"I am very concerned that this ordinance could lead to profiling, or just restricting access to public parks that tax payer dollars pay for."


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