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Residents Frustrated by Homeless in Local Parks

Andy Berg

Residents in Bakersfield, Calif., are frustrated with the state of the community parks, saying that they’ve become a haven for the homeless.

"You can't even go there because there's always people there doing what they're not supposed to be doing," Anna Smith, a Bakersfield resident who used to take her kids to Central Park at Mill Creek all the time, told the local CBS affiliate.

Smith says the park’s facilities are now being used by drug users and other activities not suitable for children.

Dianne Hoover, director of the Bakersfield Parks and Recreation Department, has heard all the complaints, but feels like her hands are tied.

"Anybody can sleep in the park. You can have your pets in the park. You can do things that you're legally allowed to do," Hoover said.

Hoover referenced new parks funding that will be coming in the near future, which should allow the department to train and deploy more parks personnel.  

Miguel Navarro, who frequents Sears Park in Oildale with his kids, said he’s not too bothered by the homeless people sleeping just beyond the playground in the shade next to shopping carts full of their belongings.

"You know they mind their own. I mean we been here for a few hours and nobody's come up and asked us for change or anything like that. You know they mind their own," Navarro said.

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