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San Rafael Temporarily Shuts Down Park Overrun By Homeless; Mayor Calls It 'Health & Security Issue'

SAN RAFAEL (KCBS) — A neighborhood park north of downtown San Rafael has been closed for at least 30 days because officials say it's overrun by homeless people who do drugs and commit crimes.

The tennis courts and children's playground at Boyd Memorial Park have been abandoned and families just don't seem to go there anymore. Mayor Gary Phillips called the park, with its litter, vandalism and abandoned drug paraphernalia, a "health and security issue."

He recalled a day last week when he visited the park. "The fire engine was there, putting out a fire in the restroom. The park ranger was there taking away a number of stolen bicycles. At the same time, there was an officer with a handful of syringes," said Phillips.

Phillips said the homeless come from out of town and that he's checked with the district attorney to find that many of them have criminal records.

Chris, a man who was standing outside St. Vincent De Paul Dining Hall waiting for a hot meal, had a different point of view.

"There are a lot of us out here that are sober, you know? And we never asked for this life at all. A lot of us are not the ones that are making the problems is what I'm trying to say," he said.

Phillips said the ones who do want help, will be directed to agencies similar to St. Vincent's.

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