Warning to parents/residents who frequent Celebration Park: On occasion, I head over the park to walk our dog. I know Federal Way is no more immune to the heroin addiction issues the country is facing and, along with that, homelessness.
These factors add up to folks finding places to sent up tent sites and to conduct business that isn’t safe for anyone. In the past several months I have noticed reoccurring camp sites tucked into the forest along the wooded trails at the park, as well as one particularly elaborate site tucked adjacent to the baseball field down an embankment and not visible from the street. The city has a number posted and asks you to call if you see any camping on park property. Important as the park is for all our residents, it will become busier with sports activities and summer and more people using the trails, including children and families.
Most disturbing, however, about a month ago, as I walked past the busy play toy, I noticed a male very obviously pleasuring himself while watching the children. I immediately alerted the parents, and one parent called the police while another held her phone to snap a photo, at which point the car drove off.
Today, while walking back to my car again by the restrooms and the play structure, I watched a younger person, curled into a near fetal position, shooting heroin into their arm, while a young mother and daughter shared the swings around the corner. My concern is for the children drawn to the play toy because the assumption is that it is safe for the kids to play there. Now, with the possibility of needles or other unsafe items left near the big toy, the safety of the restrooms is in question.
I urge parents to be hyper-vigilant near the restrooms and the play structure and to people in their cars and to call the police. I placed a call today, and the operator told me absolutely to call when you see this activity. If you see any camping structures, the number at the parks department to call is 253-835-6960. I have forwarded my concerns to the Federal Way Police Department and have asked them to forward my concerns to the city as well. I have asked to perhaps provide a security person to monitor activity around the play structure and the parking lot and for more officer patrols of the area surrounding the play structure. In addition to the children, another, more vulnerable group using the park, are the residents of SHAG, the senior rental building across the street.
Monica Herlocker, Federal Way