AUSTIN (KXAN) — Montopolis community leaders voiced concerns about violence, harassment and drug paraphernalia at Krieg Fields and the surrounding area during a panel discussion Saturday morning.
The fields are located on Pleasant Valley Road across the river from Cesar Chavez Street.
“When is enough, enough?” said Montopolis Little League Director Israel Lopez. He said one of his coaches got stabbed playing an adult softball tournament in May. The Austin Police Department confirmed with KXAN a stabbing happened that day.
Homeless camps can be seen on the other side of the bushes surrounding the parking lots. Lopez says he’s seen people experiencing homelessness under-the-influence at the park.
“It just gets frustrating listening to all the families that cannot take their kids to Krieg anymore,” he said. “Think about that. No barbequing, no posting up after the game. No, honey — keep the kids at home.”
We also spoke with a man walking the trail across the street from the complex who says he spends time at Krieg with his family. He told KXAN he has only seen homeless camps here-and-there, and that he’s only been harassed in other parts of town.
“Not here, but downtown … I’ve experienced it a few times,” said Nathan Runningrabbit.
Panelists say the city shutting down the water fountain in the middle of the fields has helped, but hope to see more in terms of making the area safer for families.
“It’s time that we stop getting overlooked. It’s time we get the attention that’s needed out here. It’s a safety issue for our children,” said Ana Villalobos, who’s on the Montopolis Recreation Community Center Advisory Board.
Community leaders hosted the event and some APD officers and members of the public attended to listen. Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria, whose district includes the Montopolis neighborhood, was there as well. His office provided us the following statement on Monday
“I share the concern and frustration expressed on Saturday. Our residents have a right to use the fields and park without fearing for their safety and the current situation there is clearly unacceptable. City staff from the Parks Department and APD will be at Krieg Fields this weekend to conduct an assessment and determine the path forward to restore a safe environment for all park users.”Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria