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What to do about Pioneer Park?
The question has been asked scores of times over the years and, as always, the answer remains elusive. Once again there is talk of pouring a million dollars into renovations intended to transform the crime-ridden area into a family-friendly park.
That would be wonderful for the entire community, if money alone could bring about the changes that are needed. But it is unrealistic to think a few modest improvements including formal walking trails and a dog park will attract many families.
While most of the homeless are harmless, their presence is enough to frighten off most families with little children. The proximity of homeless shelters virtually assures the continued presence of those who are down and out.
Then, there is the issue of rampant crime. Until the city commits enough resources to eliminating drug trafficking around the park, don't expect many families to seek out the venue for a picnic.
The city certainly must not give up on the park. However, until more aggressive steps are taken to eliminate drug trafficking, and to deal with the homeless, who understandably and rightfully gravitate toward the area, it seems almost futile to pour much money into cosmetic improvements that likely won't have much impact.