"The idea was not to make it a cozy area."
Layla and her kids are impressed with the recent renovation of their Adams Recreation Center Park on Adams Avenue (between I-805/I-15) — in Normal Heights; they’ve been hanging out here for over three years.
“The only potential problem is that the small kids might fall."
“They took out the grass and some benches and the water fountain is gone,” Layla said on October 11.
“It used to smell like pee [too],” said Layla’s daughter.
“Yes, it’s much better out there now,” said a rec center staff member, “it looks more ‘nature-ey.'”
The Parks and Rec Department added logs and boulders from the rec center building on 35th Street to Mansfield Street.
“Every time I walked past Adams Rec, there [were] always several homeless men that liked to cat call and make comments — or they just stared and leered at you,” said Melanie.
Melanie is a personal trainer that lives west of the park by 32nd Street. “Yes it’s uncomfortable but I’d have my headphones on extra loud so I don’t hear it.”
On October 12, I spoke to Mike, part-owner of DiMille’s Pizza which is in front of the park and The Corner Wash laundromat across the street to the east of the rec center building.
“Eliminating the grass was a big help,” he said, “it makes sense for it being dirt now. The idea was not to make it a cozy area where they were sleeping on the grass all day. I hope so [that it remains dirt] — once we clean this up, the families are all coming back with their kids.”
“…. but remember when that guy was knocked out on the dirt,” Layla said. “The only potential problem is that the small kids might fall [when walking and balancing on the logs].”
“I’m going to knock on wood,” Mike said, “in the last three months it’s been way better but not without a battle. The trash, the defecating and urinating — it wasn’t sanitary. Then when they (the homeless) were at my side in back of The Corner Wash, there’s school buses that pick up [and drop off] there so the kids would be lining up and there was defecation on the floor and it was disgusting.”
Almost everyone that I spoke to in the area said that they’ve noticed more kids and families utilizing the park space. There was one father that was upset about “the dogs urinating on the new logs because once the pee is absorbed, the smell will not go away.”
The Adams Recreation Center property was acquired in 1961 and the facility was built in 1987.
Mike’s restaurant is celebrating their 40th anniversary on October 26.
“I noticed a relief on our customers,” he said, “there were uncomfortable folks that would come and they didn’t want to walk past the park to get to the restaurant. I know I’d be the same way.”
Recently, Melanie doesn’t have to crank up her headphones on treks to Kensington. “I can’t wait until they [complete] that area.”