The Meridian City Council and the mayor have agreed to close Highland Park to through traffic. One reason for the change is to promote safety.
Olivia Hill spent her afternoon playing in Highland Park. Her mother says that now that the park is closed to through traffic, she feels better about letting Olivia run around playing with other kids.
Olivia wasn't the only kid in the park. In fact, she was with a group from New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church. They were having a picnic trying to get youth more involved in church. Church members say that it is important to remember why this park is here.
"This park is for kids. Us as adults have been here, played here and had our time. Times have changed; a lot of people don't pay attention to kids, don't pay attention to safety measures. Sometimes you've got to implement something that's going to make people stop, pause and see what's going on," said New Prospect member Samuel Clark.
Officials say that visitors wanting to use many of the venues at the park will still be able to. However, they won't be able to drive through the park. Most park visitors don't seem to mind the change...as long as the park remains open.
"Don't limit freedom. Don't limit playing, especially for kids. When you set safety measures, when you block off streets where traffic cannot come through, that gives more leeway to where you don't constantly look over your shoulder wondering where little Johnny is or where Sarah is if they're playing," said Clark. "Because you know there's safety out there. Safety has been set up so if they go across the street, you don't have to too much say, 'look both ways' because you know the street is blocked off."
Parking is available adjacent to the pavilions and at the Frank Cochran Center. Parking for the Dentzel Carousel will stay the same.