Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008 | 3:47 p.m.
More than a year after a fatal stabbing between indigents forced the city to close Huntridge Circle Park, the city is no closer to reopening it.
City Manager Douglas Selby told the City Council that plans have been drafted to convert part of the park, located on a large median in the middle of Maryland Parkway, into a veterans' memorial.
The other part would include playground equipment.
The big problem with making that a reality: no money.
Cost for the veterans' memorial portion alone is $800,000. The entire remodeling of the park would cost $2.2 million.
The park reopened with an award-winning design in 2004 at a cost of roughly $1.5 million in city and county funds. It includes an outdoor stage, a meditative maze, martini-shaped tables and a water feature with hoses and nozzles.
Problems began early after the reopening, as homeless people began using the water feature not for fun but to clean themselves and their clothes. Rare were the times when families from downtown neighborhoods would frequent the park. On most days, the park, one of the few open spaces downtown with large, shady trees, would be filled with sleeping homeless people.
The homeless issue grew as activists in early 2006 started using the park as a staging area to provide free food.
Then in November 2006, an argument between two homeless men resulted in a stabbing death. A short time later, the city voted to close the park.
"Closed" signs are now posted throughout the park and city marshals drive by frequently to make sure no one uses the large grass swatches or basks in the shade.