Location: Right off Deal Avenue in Charlotte Park
Size of Park: Medium large
Crowds: Light, but a nice smattering of kids
Approximate Age of Patrons: Three adults, one sulking teen and a handful of kids
Topics of Conversation: "Good throw"
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: Just mine and a minivan. Everyone else must have walked or biked
Perceived Safety: Medium low
Number of Gunshots Heard: Three
Dog Friendliness: Good
Number of pitbulls sighted: Just mine
Incorporation of Local History: None
Recommended Patrons: Kids, ball players, walkers, people who like to remove racist graffiti
On its own, Charlotte Park is a really nice, nice park. It does a lot of the things I like to see a park do: It provides a kind of respite from the neighborhood while feeling integral to the neighborhood. It has good playground equipment as well as good space for just running around. (I noticed that the red on this playground equipment is also faded, so I'm starting to think that this isn't an indication of park neglect so much as it is a tell that the red coloring they use in the plastic doesn't hold up to sunlight very well.) And it has lovely paths with plenty of benches. Plus there are plenty of garbage cans and a very nice picnic pavilion.
Also, there's a tiny creekbed that runs through the park, which must be very lovely during wetter weather.
There are remnants of an old stacked-stone wall which made me curious about the history of the land, but of course, there's nothing there to tell you. There's also some kind of out-building, but it was closed, so I'm not sure if it's bathrooms or a tiny community center or both or neither.
So let's just say that, if no one but angels used Charlotte Park, I would unequivocally recommend you put it on your list of parks to check out. It's just the kind of park that makes me wish I could sit down with the person who designed it and ask how he got that just right. Truly, the kind of park you start to ponder as an aesthetic object.
But the world is not full solely of angels.
Now, here's the thing about that. I mean, on top of the obvious. That word has a history of violence behind it. When I see it spray-painted at a park, not only do I think, "Oh, wow, that's scary for black people. I hope no kid sees that." (I mean, seriously, it's a park, in a racially diverse neighborhood. The person who feels good about leaving that there for some little kid to see deserves to be punched in the face.) I think, "Oh, maybe this isn't a safe park for anyone to hang out in." I doubt I'm the only person who feels that way.
And I've now seen enough parks to know that what happens to parks no one feels safe to hang out in — they get neglected. And that would be a real shame for this park.
As a side note, I also looked into how one gets graffiti off a tree and, basically, it's a delicate operation if you don't want to kill the tree. Painting over it or using regular paint remover can kill the tree. Hopefully Metro Parks has some ways to get this evil nonsense taken care of promptly.
So there are parks that are shitty, the blame for which I'm willing to dump directly into Metro's lap. Charlotte Park is not one of them. This is a nice park that assholes are ruining.