Neighbors concerned by abnormal activity at Hays Park

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -An ongoing series of issues at Hays Park is making several residents worried about their safety.

"I've been threatened to be shot, to be stabbed, to have my head crushed in, to have my dogs head crushed in," Jon Nolend, a resident living by the park, said.

Nolend and his wife, Quinn Rapp, said they're both witnesses and victims to daily disturbances involving narcotics, property crime and harassment. Some instances have resulted in physical confrontations, according to Nolend.

Multiple residents didn't want to be on camera, but told KHQ similar stories of vandalism, late-night loitering and feeling fear.

Nolend is apart of the Bemiss Neighborhood Council, which has already attempted to address the issue. According to Nolend, he's tried multiple, alternative methods to ease tensions and build a rapport: trying to talk face-to-face, offering to hold activities like kickball games and even giving away bikes. He said nothing has worked, but hopes something does sooner than later.

"When the bigger kids are smoking weed, throwing knives, cussing and using profanity and racial slurs, what it does it makes the parents uncomfortable enough where they don't want to bring their little kids there," Jon Nolend, a resident by the park, said.

Jessie Anderson is the parent of Elijah, one of the teenagers frequenting the park. Anderson agreed it's wrong for residents to be fearful, but also points to a lack of public resources for local kids in the Hillyard area.

Anderson, who knows many of the teenagers personally, said several come from households battling drug addiction and mental health issues.

"You know what they said I asked them, 'Why don't you choose somewhere else to go?' Cause there's not really any other place to go," she said.

Elijah, along with several other teenagers who asked to remain anonymous, said the park is a popular spot for local teenagers to hang out because it's where many of them have hung out since they were children. While he admits teens will occasionally drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, he doesn't feel like the actions should warrant fear.

However, Elijah also admits he never knew local residents were fearful of going outside their homes.

"I think it's kind of messed up that people are afraid to come out of their house," he said.

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