A recently refurbished public park near downtown Atlanta might not be attracting the kind of visitors city leaders hoped for when they paid $1.5 million for renovations there last summer.
According to residents who live nearby, drug problems and other deviant activities have been rampant at Selena Butler Park this spring and summer. Last fall, the city completed work on new tennis and basketball courts, to go along with a new playground space.
"The drug dealers feel pretty comfortable out here," said J.P. Michalik, who lives nearby. "Last week I was walking up the sidewalk, and I saw an exchange for drugs, or whatever it was."
To prove his point, Michalik went looking for a "drug baggie" and was able to find one at the park after only five minutes of searching. Another resident who lives nearby agreed there are problems at the park, but said it's not as bad as it seems.
"You'll see some guys on the steps playing dice, but I don't think they're doing drugs," said Mike Batey.
However, a police officer at the scene said they had indeed been busy there in recent weeks, making at least a dozen arrests in the last month at or near Butler Park. Many of those arrests were drug-related.
"It's just a slap to the face to all the hard work we put into getting this park together," said Michalik.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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