In January, I wrote about a joint-use field at Sherman Heights Elementary School that had been closed to the public for close to a year, forcing nearby residents to crawl under a fence to access one of the community’s only public green spaces.
City of San Diego crews maintain playing fields owned by the San Diego Unified School District and in exchange, the district agrees to open them up to the public after school hours. The district saves money and the surrounding communities have a place to play.
At Sherman Heights Elementary, school staff had been keeping the gates locked even though the city was paying for maintenance. City staff opened the gates after we brought it to their attention.
I was in Sherman Heights Wednesday evening. The gates were locked again. Teenagers and mothers with their children were pulling up the bottom of the chain link fence and crawling under it to get onto the field.
|The locked gate at Sherman Heights Elementary meant mothers and children and teenagers had to crawl under the fence instead. | Photo by Adrian Florido|
This afternoon, I called up park department director Stacey LoMedico to find out what was going on.
“This absolutely should not have occurred,” she said. “Staff has been working with the school staff on site, and if this is the case we need to work with school district management to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.”
LoMedico sent me an email shortly after our conversation. Councilman David Alvarez’s office brought the locked gates to the city’s attention Thursday morning, too.
The city contacted the school’s principal, who in an email said the lead custodian had been out sick. He has the key to the gates. The park department said it would give him another.
LoMedico said the city would remind the principal that the field must remain open for the public to use.
Please contact Adrian Florido directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 619.325.0528 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.