Amid calls for change, park conditions improve

After troubles at Campbell Park led a group of neighbors to form a citizens’ task force, local leaders began exploring a similar solution for Davis Park.

Rep. Geran Tarr said the Take Back Our Park initiative, spearheaded by Anchorage Assemblywoman Elvi Gray-Jackson, had gone a long way toward making Campbell Park safer and cleaner. At a Mountain View Community Council meeting earlier this month, Tarr said she attended a Campbell Park TBOP meeting with several Mountain View residents. They agreed the midtown model could work for them.

The plan would entail monitoring Davis Park and communicating with the group’s various members, Tarr said. She listed the Anchorage Police Department, MVCC, residents, businesses, the Mountain View Community Patrol, Community Work Service, Bean’s Cafe, Brother Francis Shelter, Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers Association, RurAL CAP and other local lawmakers as suggested partners in the effort.

Additional park cleanups could supplement the current annual event, Tarr said, and a Mountain View TBOP committee could also take regular walks through neighborhood parks and keep in touch with police regarding any disturbances. She said the group could help keep illegal campsites — a persistent presence — out of Davis Park.

After the most recent community cleanup and several visits by police, conditions in the park have improved. The sprawling campsites that littered the woods in Davis Park this past spring are gone, and last week only a few tents were set up among the trees. There are still discarded beer cans along the trail.

Tarr said Take Back Our Park might help.

Kirk Rose, community development director at the Anchorage Community Land Trust, requested Mizelle Park be included in the TBOP initiative. The park has had trouble of its own; complaints from local businesses and visits from police. Sunday, a man was arrested there following an assault that injured three others. Police said alcohol was a factor in the crime.

At the August MVCC meeting, longtime resident Nikki Burrows suggested more organized activities in the park to encourage positive use. Park problems happen everywhere, she said, and other places have found successful ways to turn the tide. What about a designated graffiti wall, meant to keep unwanted art off other structures? Tarr suggested a Friday Night in the Park-style event series.

While no formal action was taken during the August council meeting, the plans are coming together. Davis Park looks a little cleaner than it did three months ago. It could become even better.

The next community council meeting is set to take place Monday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

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