East Biloxi residents who use John Henry Beck Park are in an uproar about the lock that recently appeared on one of the park's many entrances.
Though the park is still open for use, newly elected Biloxi councilman Felix Hines says there is a good reason for chaining that particular entrance. "There have been alleged complaints about some of the activities going on, loud music, disturbance of the neighbors, and they decided to go ahead and put the locks on there to try to cut down on the traffic," said Gines.
Councilman Hines says, the city isn't trying to prohibit people from enjoying the public park. They just want residents who live in very close proximity to feel comfortable. They are currently looking into alternative measures to cut down on any disturbances at the park. "We're looking at replacing that area with a rolling fence, so at proper times when the park opens and closes we can open and close it," said Gines.
Not all park goers feel that the locked entrance is a positive thing and Donovan Willingham is one of them. "I don't understand. It doesn't make any sense at all. If they lock one side of the fence why not lock it all if they don't want anyone to park here," said Willingham.
Willingham and some of his friends say it's not fair to limit their access to the park, especially during the summer while people are trying to enjoy it.
Just a few yards away, another group of people were trying to enjoy a separate feature of the park on a hot day, the splash pad, but it's currently not working. From Splash Pad woes to locked entrances, folks who frequent John Henry Beck Park are asking city officials to show their park a little more TLC.
A city spokesman emphasized John Henry Beck Park is open. The locked gate prevents vehicles from entering the Main Street/Division Street complex. However, the pedestrian walkways remain open. So, people can still walk in and out of the park, just as they have for years.