Thursday, April 10, 2008

Careful on city & TUSD plan to open school parks

Corbett elementary school on the south side is part of the playground pilot project

TUCSON -- Our city does not have enough parks, so the pilot project to open 12 TUSD school playgrounds to the public when schools are closed will allow more access to park-like places.

I understand the need and goal here, and appreciate the effort to solve a problem.

But opening school playgrounds to the public could also open them to all the problems some of our parks have, especially crime, vandalism, trash and graffiti. Nevertheless, these threats should not stop us from carefully exploring this option.

Citizens have major concerns with crime at Santa Rita Park in south downtown, where I serve as Neighborhood President, and don't want to see the same problems happening on school grounds. The neighbors, police and the city try, but never seem to be able to keep up with the damage.

Part of city's effort should also be more investment in improving and creating more city parks, especially on vacant land in existing neighborhoods.

It'll be interesting to see how this pilot project works. I hope it goes well. It makes sense to carefully try this on a small scale first to see if it really works well for the schools and the public.

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