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Columbus City Council votes to keep Carver Park closed on weekends

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 8:18 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus city council unanimously approves a decision to keep Carver Park closed on weekend.

“My first thought was actually that it’s sad because, you know, kids don’t have nowhere to play for a while,” said Columbus resident Vanrious Duffie.

When city council originally voted at the end of August to have Carver Park shut down on weekends after two homicides in the park, some Columbus residents understood why.

“One of the murders that happened before they actually closed it down ended up being one of my little cousins on the other side of the family,” said Duffie.

Duffie says one of the people killed in Carver Park in February, 16-year-old Corey Jones, was his distant cousin. Shortly after 44-year-old Andrea Ellis was shot and killed in that same area in August, city council decided to shut the park down on Saturdays and Sundays and reduce hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“I don’t like closing the park,” said mayor Skip Henderson. “In my opinion we could modify and I think we just make sure that it closes well before the late afternoon.”

While there haven’t been any homicides in the park since it closed at the end of August, city council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to extend that weekend closure until November 1.

“We’re also continuing to accelerate the investment in our cameras,” said Mayor Henderson. “We’ve got them all over Metro on buses. We’ve got them in other areas throughout the community.”

Mayor Henderson says while installing more cameras throughout the community may not prevent crime, he hopes the effort and shutting down the park on weekends makes more people feel safe.

“We have to have the help in the neighborhoods, if you see something say something may save one of those young people’s lives,” said Mayor Henderson.

“Eventually, hopefully everything will get back better and, you know, the park will open back up and the kids can have somewhere to play at,” said Duffie.

Mayor Henderson says the November 1 extension was chosen to give city council time to complete an ordinance allowing the city manager to change the park’s hours permanently.

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