City of Gainesville’s T.B. McPherson Park to close on Sundays

Press release from City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Beginning on May 21, 2023, the City of Gainesville will close T.B. McPherson Park on Sundays. This action comes in response to concerns over proper park usage during Peaceful Sunday events and is in the interest of public safety.

Peaceful Sundays, a gathering which at times draws as many as 2,000 attendees, was operating with a city permit that expired on April 30, 2023. In recent weeks, the security firm hired to support Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) staff by managing park capacity has reported an increase in confrontational behavior during these events. To protect the safety of its security team, the company is now considering withdrawing its services.

“It is unfortunate that closing the park is the only remaining option following the breakdown of discussions with the Peaceful Sundays event organizer,” said Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry.

With the Sunday closures in place, the City will have successfully responded to the following concerns:

  • Unsafe roadside parking that limits accessibility for neighbors and emergency vehicles.
  • Noise and trash complaints.
  • Unregulated activity occurring within and around the park at each event.
  • Unbudgeted additional staffing costs for PRCA to clean the park following each event.
  • Unbudgeted cost of outside security services at each event.
  • Unbudgeted officer assistance from the Gainesville Police Department.
  • Total City costs of approximately $90,000 annually to support this event, which has traditionally extended from February-August.

The park will remain closed on Sundays until further notice.

  • So now, none of the taxpayers get to use the park because of the terrorism these idiots have wrought throughout town. No need to worry, they’ll find another place to destroy in no time.

  • As the new celebration point sports complex gives it’s opening dates the free parks are closing. These sports minded citizens

  • The city is complaining about 90000 but no one had any concerns about the 5.5 million spent on Westsde Park and the Spurgeon Cherry pool. This city is cutting everything that affects African Americans. There is no gun violence and murders at TB so I don’t understand the safety issues. Gun violence and murders are already out of control in the presence of the policemen. Wonder if there will be any concerns for the safety of students when 2000 people go to Depot Park, Westside Park and end up downtown on Sundays? The Mayor finally completed his agenda to promote gun violence and murders downtown. Governor Desantis bill he sign where people can carry guns is effective 07-01-2023. Apparently, the Mayor wasn’t thinking how gun violence and murders will get worse downtown when 2000 people from different cities intermingle with students downtown on Sundays because of his personal agenda.

    • How about the complaints of the people who live around the park the tax payers who help pay for the park.
      murders will get worse downtown when 2000 people from different cities intermingle with students
      THIS SOUNDS LIKE A THREAT law enforcement needs to start stopping and checking people I am sure there will be a few felons with a gun

    • They can’t park downtown anymore. Other parks are more limited too. TBM was used because it was easier— but aggravated the taxpayers and distracted the cops.

    • Why is the excuse “Race” if you can’t act right in your own neighborhood what do you expect. Except responsibility, if people are causing problems ruining it for everyone else don’t defend. It only makes it bad for everyone. A few bad apples give everyone a bad name.

    • You’re contradicting yourself–you said “There is no gun violence and murders at TB so I don’t understand the safety issues”, then go on to say that gun violence and murders will *increase* when these same people go to downtown instead.

      Which is it? You’re saying the Peaceful Sundays attendees don’t cause trouble so the event shouldn’t be shut down, but if it is shut down then these people will cause trouble elsewhere.

      Why doesn’t the promoter put up the $90k for security since it’s apparently no big deal? The improvements to Westside park etc. were paid for with a specific sales tax approved by voters for that purpose.

  • Why are they spending monies on cameras at TB but claiming it cost 90000 annually for this event. Are they installing cameras at other parks? They need to be installing cameras downtown where all the gun violence and murders are happening. If the city budget needs cutting, installing cameras comes with a cost.

    • They’re renovating a Duckpond event center for $5 million soon. Plan ahead.

  • It’s about time. Maybe the Constitution was read after 20 years of selective non-enforcement?

  • Fix the open container law. That’s the real liability concern in the room.

  • I guess most people who are complaining about closing TB are not listening to the residents and citizens complaints. Typically at these events the problems never arise within the event (outside of loud music) as much as it does on the streets surrounding the event. The parking issues, and criminal activities take place outside but the event is the reason why the problems occur. Something as simple as Peaceful Sundays which was initially meant for area residents gets inundated with people from outside of the area as well as criminals who could care less about Peaceful Anything.

    • There are plenty of places to go… Eastman’s enclave, Poe’s porch, Saco’s sanctuary, Ward’s woods, Willet’s wonderland are but a few.

      They’ve sent out the invites, let them have peaceful Sundays at their places.

  • Maybe they can start gathering on Saturdays. And then when the park gets closed on Saturdays move it to Fridays. Fix the issue don’t close the park.

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