A group of concerned citizens gathered at the Ballard Library last night for a follow-up meeting about crime in the three central Ballard Parks.
Two months ago, Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher created the exclusion zone for Ballard Commons, Bergen Place Park and Marvin’s Garden. And last night he announced, “I really think it’s working.” Seattle Police Sgt. Dianne Newsom said they’ve issued 13 park exclusions in Ballard, 4 currently in effect. Officers have given 36 “drinking in the park” citations, including a record 5 citations to a single individual. Sgt. Newsom said undercover officers have been unsuccessful in their efforts to buy drugs in the parks because dealers have been careful only to sell to customers they know.
Dan Iverson with the Parks Department said that they’ve approved a vendor permit for a hot dog stand at Bergen Place, and Thaiku may open a take-out window on Marvin’s Garden and add some tables for people to eat. And they’re still working on bringing free WiFi to the central parks, hopefully by next spring. “It would be very cutting edge and very exciting for Ballard,” he says.
One family that lives near Gilman Playground (just south of Market St. between 9th and 11th Ave.) told the group that they’ve noticed an increase in homeless people camping there in the last few months. “It’s been really bad,” they said, raising the concern that the exclusion zones in Central Ballard are pushing the homeless to nearby parks. Superintendent Tim Gallagher welcomed the feedback. “We have to hear from the public. That’s an important ingredient,” he said. The next parks safety meeting will be next April.