LONG BEACH, Calif. - Under a new ordinance, adults and children over 12 are now barred from hanging out in the "kid zones" of Long Beach city parks.
The ordinance, approved by the Long Beach City Council, only allows younger children and the adults supervising the children to be around certain playground areas of the park.
The problem has been two-fold. At Admiral Kidd Park, for example, teenagers from a nearby high school tend to hang out at the playgrounds after school. Many of those teens have used swing sets that were meant for children that weigh much, much less than they do.
At the brand new Lincoln Park, swings had to be removed after they were damaged by people using them.
The other issue is the homeless hanging out in the playgrounds. Last summer, a fire at Admiral Kidd caused over $500,000 worth of damage.
Councilmember Roberto Uranga, who represents the district the park is in, has been able to raise funds to not only replace the structures but improve the park in the near future.
However, he says "it’s a drain on resources" that should not have to be used to fix playgrounds that are meant to be enjoyed by children.
Parents we spoke to at the parks seemed happy about the idea but also seemed less concerned about teenagers than the homeless hanging out in the parks in general, not just within the playground.
It’s doubtful that police will be taking anyone to jail for swinging in the park, but do expect more park rangers and to be asked to move if you are over 12 and not watching over a child.