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Moline neighbors worried about safety around community park

Community members voiced their concerns to the Moline City Council, and said having a fence around the park would make the area safer for everyone.

MOLINE, Ill. — Editor's note: A previous version of this story mentioned parks department officials were not present at the meeting. While parks department officials were not in the meeting room, at least one parks department official was attending the meeting via teleconference.

Neighbors in Moline are concerned about safety near a community park.

On a city block off of 7th Street, there is evidence of the past.

"There was a gate here, there was a gate up on the west end and there was a gate over there on the north side," explained Jim Garbett.

Garbett lives less than a block from Karstens Park, the same park that he visited growing up.

The fence that once circled Karstens Park was taken down earlier this fall.

"Our concern is safety," Garbett said.

He is worried about safety on a busy 23rd Avenue, in both directions to and from 7th Street.

The street running right by the park is also along a Metro bus route.

"With the fence there there was a barrier between the road and the park," said Mark Stevens.

Stevens lives just across the street from the park.

"We have a lot of kids over here, especially in the springtime," Stevens said.

After living in the neighborhood for 13 years, Stevens is worried about what could happen.

"I don't want to be looking out my window and see a kid get hit by a car," Stevens said. "That's the last thing I want to see."

That is why three community members voiced their concerns to the Moline City Council on Tuesday.

"There's no 'slow children at play' type of signs to let you know there's a park coming up. There's traffic on all four sides of the park," one community member said to the council.

The group just wants to find a solution.

"If they don't, I fear someone could be hurt very seriously," Garbett said.

What might be seen as a barrier, for these neighbors, is peace of mind.

Community members also said the fence served as a visual cue to drivers that there is a park in the area.