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Kids joining in on effort to get attention of San Diego's mayor to clean up Balboa Park playground

For all the families who live in the buildings around Balboa Park, most don’t have a backyard to play in.

SAN DIEGO — Kids are joining the effort to get Mayor Todd Gloria’s attention and clean up the 6th Avenue Children’s Playground in Balboa Park. 

This is a story we continue to follow since we first met neighbors at the park last month. They want the city to help them take back the park so everyone can enjoy it. 

For all the families who live in the buildings around Balboa Park, most don’t have a backyard to play in.  

The Children’s Playground in Balboa Park is their open space to come play.   

But many families CBS 8 has spoken with say they often don’t feel safe here.  They’ve reached out to the mayor’s office and their city councilmember’s office.  

CBS 8 reached out to city leaders and now a young teenage girl is joining in the effort to get the city’s attention to make the park safe for kids. 

13-year-old Tali Kean has an online store she promotes on Instagram. Her handle is @Talihandmadeco 

Now, she’s using her platform to get Mayor Gloria’s attention about the 6th Avenue Playground in Balboa Park.   

She posted an Instagram story and tagged the mayor. She says, “Bathrooms are really unsafe and not a good place for children,” 

“It just surprised me because San Diego has always been portrayed as a neat and amazing city,” said Kean. 

Kean follows Sarah Hernholm on Instagram. Her handle is @Miss_Wit. The two of them do a podcast for teen entrepreneurs.  

“Oh, my goodness, if they hear from a child, surely, they will take action when they hear a young person express concern,” said Hernholm.  

Hernholm lives across from the park and for months, has been posting videos and pictures about life around the playground.  

“There’re needles. Crack pipes. There’s a man that smokes crack almost every morning right here at that picnic bench,” said Hernholm. 

Crews come early every morning to clean the bathrooms, but every night they’re destroyed again. 

“If fires are being started in the locked stalls and overdoses are happening in the locked stalls, that’s not good for anybody,” said Hernholm. 

Hernholm and her neighbors started an online petition. They want city leaders to clean up the playground. 

They want the bathrooms to be locked overnight. She says people may say that homeless people need a place to go to the bathroom, but she says they don’t use them for that purpose.  

“These bathrooms are mini shelters in Balboa Park,” said Hernholm.  

Her online petition has several hundred signatures, but Hernholm hopes more signatures will make a difference. And that’s what Kean is asking for Instagram followers for.  

“The world has a lot of bad things that happen and little by little we can improve those things,” said Kean. “So, it’s like a little step toward making most things better,” 

Her Instagram story says “Let’s get this to 500 signatures."

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