Restricted hours now in effect at Princeton Park

City acknowledges new plan isn’t perfect, but has safety obligation to students in after-school program

After learning about new restricted hours at Princeton Park, we contacted Commissioner Stuart to get some answers. He connected us with Lisa Early, Director of the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department; the department responsible for the decision to close the park to the public for certain periods of time during the week.

Early explained that while wanting to maximize access for all children in the neighborhood, there is also an obligation to protect those in the after-school programs run by the City, like the one held at the College Park Community Center adjacent to Princeton Park.

According to Early, “The entities responsible for establishing and enforcing rules that keep children safe in schools and after school programs – the Department of Children & Families and Orange County Public Schools – don’t allow members of the public to mingle with children during school, or in after school programs, either indoors or outside.”

Following some unfortunate incidents at the park, the staff at the after-school program decided to initially close the playground from 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. After further review and community feedback, those hours have been adjusted and the park will now be closed from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Early acknowledged that communication to residents could have been handled better and said she and her staff are committed to handling these types of matters in a more acceptable way in the future.

Early apologizes to the community for the inconvenience and appreciates the feedback received by her office. “While we know that this plan isn’t perfect, we believe it will better accommodate the neighborhood’s needs while also upholding important safety standards that are equally enforced at all of our community centers where after school programs take place,” she said.

In addition, the Parks and Rec. staff will be increasing maintenance at the park and encourages residents to contact the community center manager, Robin Payne, if they have any concerns. She is at the center most days but can also be reached at 407-246-4447. Concerns can also be shared with Recreation Division Manager, Rodney Williams, at 407-246-4309

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