The Jacksonville City Council this week approved a bill making it easier for police to ban people from city parks when they break rules. Drinking in the park could get the offender banned for a year, for example.
A separate bill approved Tuesday also extends Hemming Park’s boundaries. Now, if someone is banned from Hemming, they can’t hang out on the surrounding sidewalks or under the Skyway platform.
Hemming Park regular Wendy Jenkins has been homeless off and on for a couple years. She said she can understand banning people for drinking or drugs, but she thinks the city should focus more on fixing the root problems of homelessness.
“I really hope that they’ll take it to heart and listen and maybe go back and look at what’s going on with the homeless in this town and actually wonder to themselves why you’re seeing so many of them out here,” she said.
Under the new ordinance, people who are banned from public parks can appeal. They also have to be given a warning first.
Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.