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Palm Springs to close Baristo Park due to health hazard

Palm Springs has decided to close temporarily a park that city officials are calling a health hazard and a menace to public safety.

Baristo Park, 296 S. Calle Encilia, is expected to shut down for about six weeks while city officials address problems there, including discarded drug paraphernalia, the dumping of toxic and biohazardous materials, public property destruction, and litter, according to a statement posted on the city’s website.

Those issues have been brought on by the city’s ongoing problem with homelessness, something communities across the United States are struggling with, according to City Manager Justin Clifton.

“In order to protect public health and safety, the City is taking this step to address persistent issues in the park related to a small group of transient individuals,” Clifton said. “Palm Springs is committed to compassionately managing the impacts of homelessness while finding solutions to help our unhoused population obtain permanent and supportive housing.”

Police and fire department calls regarding Baristo Park have gone up significantly during the past two years.

From 2017-2019, the park had 558 service calls. From 2019 until now, more than 1,245 calls have been placed, according to the statement.

A closure date was not announced.

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