Community gathers to fight negative view of local park at center of violent crime

Community gathers to fight negative view of local park at center of violent crime

PITTSBURGH — It’s a place the community says should be welcoming to people of all ages. Whether at the spray park, basketball court or playground, Arlington Park has been the site of a rash of gun violence and drug dealing.

“One was a drive-by that happened on that street,” Jessica Bernham said. “And then one of them was somebody walked up into the park and fired five or six shots into the air.”

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Fed up with the negative, community and religious leaders are working to inspire change. They linked arms at the park.

“Because of what they see here they shouldn’t be fearful of utilizing this beautiful park. We’re going to be here and everyone here is going to be here to make certain they can enjoy this beautiful park,” Rev. Eileen Smith said.

A rally Saturday was filled with speeches from local organizations offering safe, positive activities for kids. Those who turned out hoped the event would encourage families to enjoy the park without fear.

“Help us. Embrace your neighborhood. Stand up and make sure that it stays safe,” Michelle Traficante said.

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