Tomorrow (Thursday, August 9) is the first installment of the Ballard Commons Park summer movies series, and there’s been some concern among residents about the cleanliness of the park. A number of My Ballard readers have reported seeing discarded needles at the park on various occasions. A comment thread in the My Ballard Group had members writing with widely different takes on the issue; one person said they’ve been visiting the park for a decade without any needle sightings.
So, My Ballard checked in with Seattle Parks and Recreation to hear what they’ve found in the park.
Seattle Parks crews clean the park three times a day, and regularly do a sweep to look for needles. In the past three months, they’ve picked up and logged six needles total; three in May, none in June, and three in July. A spokesperson from Seattle Parks says many of the homeless who use the park pick up needles themselves. At each visit, Parks staff remove trash and recycling and pick up litter.
Anytime there is an event scheduled at one of Seattle’s parks, they send crews to do a thorough cleanup ahead of time. “Park’s staff receive a list of all park events in their region and try their best to clean the park in advance of any events,” Rachel Schulkin from Seattle Parks said. “The northwest crew is spread between Green Lake, Carkeek, Golden Gardens, and Ballard Commons all of which have quite a few summer events. But Colleen, the Crew Chief, assured me that they will make sure to put the summer movie series on their list.”
If you see discarded needles in public parks, Seattle Parks recommends you contact the Parks Maintenance Request Line at 206-684-7250. If you choose to address the problem yourself, follow these guidelines on safe handling and disposal.