Long Beach City Council passes law barring childless adults from park playgrounds

The Long Beach City Council has passed a new ordinance barring adults from visiting playgrounds unless they have a child with them

Council members voted unanimously to approve the so-called Kid Zone Law, which would ban adults from the city’s 80 playgrounds unless they are supervising a child under 12 years old.

Childless adults would still be able to visit the rest of the parks, including benches, the bathroom and other park facilities.

City Councilman Al Austin said in the last year, playgrounds were vandalized, costing the city more than $1 million and that crime also increased where children play.

“There have been complaints of adult activities, like drinking and drug use and paraphernalia, things kids should not be exposed to at our parks,” Austin said.

Elizabeth Carranza drives her daughter to Lincoln Park in downtown Long Beach. Though there’s a playground closer to her home, she said it does not feel safe.

“More homelessness than anything and I feel that it makes it look a bit dirty, I would say, and I don’t see a lot of kids,” Carranza told CBSLA.

The new ordinance would be enforced by police and park rangers, and violators could face a misdemeanor charge, but Councilman Austin said officials aren’t looking to rack up citations.

“There will be signage at every park and every playground to let folks know about the ordinance, and again, this is something that could be enforced. We certainly hope it doesn’t have to be enforced,” he said.

Mike Siregear, who is a father, agrees with the new law, but thinks it could get confusing.

“This one would be a little bit more difficult to kinda distinguish your intentions of being here because this specific one, I see people workout here, I see people play basketball,” he said.

The City of Los Angeles tried to pass a similar law in 2016, but it was shot down after receiving criticism, much of it from the American Civil Liberties Union.

After a second vote on Tuesday, the ordinance is expected to head to the mayor’s desk where, if signed, the new law could go into effect as soon as next month.

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