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'We need you to take action' | Volunteers return to clean up filthy Balboa Park playground

"Since we’ve been doing these stories with CBS 8, things have happened," said Hernholm.

SAN DIEGO — Sarah Hernholm lives close to the 6th Avenue children's playground at Balboa Park and she said this all started months ago. When something caught her eye, she called CBS 8. 

"I was in my home and looked out my window and I saw a father go behind a tree and help his child go to the bathroom. I thought that was so wrong," said Hernholm. 

From that moment, Hernholm has taken initiative by asking CBS 8 to help get the park cleaned up and make it safer for children. 

"I actually do not have children. I feel strongly that children deserve a safe place to play and use the bathroom. It doesn’t feel like I’m taking some extreme stance," said Hernholm.

CBS 8 came out and saw the problem firsthand and got the park cleaned up, but the problem continued.

On Saturday, neighborhood volunteers along with the Bankers Hill Community Group, Forever Balboa Park and San Diego Police were there to help. 

"There's a pornography magazine where the baby changing table is and too much feces to use it," said a volunteer. 

Hernholm says the bathrooms need to be locked up at night to keep them clean and keep homeless people from setting up camp and taking over the park.

"There should be no issue locking the stalls. This is not a 24-hour park. People sleep in the bathroom stalls and they overdose. We had to call 911 on that. What’s really sad is what’s happening. There are drug deals at that bathroom," said Hernholm.

But some volunteers are unsure if they should be locked up overnight.

"San Diego is a bathroom desert and notorious for having no public bathrooms, so I'm really torn. It’s a tough call," said a volunteer.

CBS 8 followed behind City Councilmember Stephen Witburn as he looked at the filthy bathrooms. 

"There's feces covering the walls and the baby changing table. I can't imagine people ever putting a baby on it. It's disgusting!" said Hernholm.

After CBS 8 reached out to officials to clean up the mess, they have put new signage up on the bathrooms enforcing police to take action if they see any wrongdoing there.

"We also have less encampments here and that’s because of the awareness CBS 8 brought to this area and it brought enforcement to the area," said Hernholm.

CBS 8 also told you about a signature drive spearheaded by children who want to take back the park. Its been sent to Mayor Todd Gloria with more than 500 signatures. 

"They wish us the best of luck and we don’t need well wishes, we need you to take action," said Hernholm.

"I am so grateful to CBS 8. I know they have this wonderful segment, Working For You segment and working for us in the community. Anyone who chooses to use their platforms to elevate causes and issues, I so appreciate it. Since we’ve been doing these stories with CBS 8, things have happened," said Hernholm.

Hernholm says she will keep cleaning the park once a month if she has to.

WATCH RELATED: City cleans up mess at 6th Avenue Playground (May 2022).

    



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