Officials and residents of San Rafael say homeless encampments at the city’s Boyd Memorial Park have gotten out of control. And, on Monday, Mayor Gary Phillips took a bold step aimed at solving the problem.
As of Monday, the park is officially closed. The closure will continue for a period of 30 days, during which officials will “enforce local ordinances, clean and clear the property, communicate with park users and the public, and strategize on further steps to restore Boyd Park as a safe and inviting park facility," according to the city’s website.
The move was prompted by a series of phone calls from concerned residents, complaining of illicit activity like drug use and general squalor at the once family-friendly park.
"I want to break the cycle so this is not a place for them to hang out," Phillips said, calling the matter a “health and security issue.” He said many of the individuals who frequent the park have criminal histories.
Critics blasted the decision as unfair, insisting that many of the park’s homeless visitors are law-abiding citizens who have nowhere else to go. Phillips, however, claims that the majority of the park’s transients don’t fit into the category. He said those who do will instead be directed to agencies and organizations that work with the homeless.
Read more about Boyd Park’s closure here.