BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The county is trying to improve neighborhood parks through more projects and upgrades.
“It’s not really a park you take the kids no more, you know, people turn it into like a camping site,” said Bakersfield resident, Marco Resendez.
Resendez lives across the street from Casa Loma Park and as much as he would like to use the park more with his family, he says that’s been harder to do over the years.
“About four years ago, it was cool, it was okay to take your kids over there, it wasn’t as bad, it wasn’t as dirty. Obviously when COVID hit, that made it even worse. Now, it's not even feasible to take your kids over there.”
The restrooms at Casa Loma Park are closed as if it’s been welded shut, residents nearby said that makes it difficult to bring their kids here.
“I know it’s a park, but the last time we took the kids in there you know, there were needles, drugs in the restroom, people passed out on the jungle gym on the slide and stuff.”
County officials know that this is a problem, that’s why improving this park and others in the area were discussed at the Wednesday evening Kern County Parks and Rec meeting.
“We initially shut all the restrooms down because we were dealing with severe encampments and that continues to be the case,” said Carl Brewer, General Services for Kern County.
This issue with shut restrooms is a problem across many parks, even at Belle Terrace Park.
“Someone had broken off the door, and there’s a mattress on the ground and the entire restroom had just been destroyed,” said Brewer.
Commissioner Osby of District 5 said it’s an issue she wants to fix so that more families can spend time at parks.
“The park is a public place for families to engage, like there’s baseball diamonds, all sorts of activities that are going on in the park and people can’t use the restroom. What do you want them to do?”
Other improvements discussed included lighting improvements in Casa Loma Park, adding park rangers and maintenance workers to keep areas cleaner, and upgrading equipment, among other things.
“When I was young, I used to have family reunions at these parks. Actually, I had a family reunion at this park and it’s just like, now we wouldn’t have a family reunion at this park,” said Denzel Washington.
Bakersfield resident Denzel Washington also said Casa Loma Park is run down and dirty now.
The next Parks and Rec meeting is on March 16 at 6:30pm at the county administrative building.