Lack of parks, play spaces bothers city mom and her 7-year-old son

“The kids need a place to go and have fun,” Alecia Wayne, of Second Street, said. “Every time a park opens, they close them up within a year.”

Wayne has lived in Williamsport almost 10 years and has seen parks and other public spaces close down over that time. She doesn’t think the reason given by public officials for closing some of those parks – that trouble is being made there – is valid.

“You get more trouble closing down the park than not having the park. At least you know where you’re at if you have a park. It’s their fault. They should have had more cameras in all the parks. It’s not the kids who get in trouble.”

Wayne’s son, Mekhi Doughty, is 7. She doesn’t see kids his age “doing something real destructive unless he’s throwing a rock.” Finding him a place to play that isn’t on the street is a problem for Wayne.

Right now, the closest play spaces to Second Street are at the Timberland Apartments, along Walnut Street between Little League Boulevard and Edwin Street, which is technically private, and at Lose School, a lot that’s often closed.

“There’s CAPPA, on Campbell, and that can only handle so many kids. The closest open park to here is Memorial. We need something right here, with more swings, good ones, a basketball court, an athletic complex.”

There’s an empty lot on the 600 block of Second Street that is an ideal place to put a playlot, Wayne thinks.

Her son Mekhi is a dreamer. He points across the street to a private parking lot, with high fences, and asks, “Can we put a park there?”

Mekhi has a list of what he’d like to see at a park: “Swings and slides. And a pool. With a slide!”