Peters Park – the king of open spaces in the South End – has taken a turn for the worse this summer as the homeless population increases and more drug activity has shown up.
Neighbors in the area and from the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) said there has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of homeless people living in the park this summer. Likewise, they said there are more needles being found, and the garbage is everywhere.
This is compounded by the fact that long-time D-4 Officer Richie Litto has not been on his regular patrols, as he is out with an injury as a result of protest activity in late May. Likewise, South End Baseball usually has a major presence in the park during the evenings – driving away questionable activity – but they are not there this summer.
Neighbors said there are children who use the park from day-care centers that have re-opened, and there is a fear they could pick up the needles being found.
One neighbor said they haven’t gotten many answers from the City, but Councilor Ed Flynn told the Sun he planned to have a community meeting at the park – which came after Sun deadlines. He said he is working to make sure the situation changes quickly.
“Our parks and open spaces are vital to the quality of life and well-being for residents in the City of Boston, and Peters Park is a jewel for the South End community,” he said. “It’s critical that we keep the park safe, clean and welcoming to all. I know that neighbors all across the South End, especially around the East Berkeley area, have worked hard to ensure that it’s well-maintained and remains a space for residents, families and children to enjoy. I’m meeting with Captain Sweeney at the park to discuss public safety and quality of life issues such as needles, our homeless population, and cleanliness. I will continue to work closely with the Parks Department, officers from D-4, and neighbors to see how we can improve conditions at Peters Park.”