City temporarily closed Lonnie Miller Park for ‘safety concern’

JACKSONVILLE — Lonnie Miller Park was closed Sunday for safety concerns one week after cell video went viral showing what appeared to be a fight breaking out at the park on Mother’s Day.

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The video, which now has more than 2.5 million views, also caught the attention of State Representative Angie Nixon. “That was violence, let’s be clear. Fighting is violence. But unfortunately here in Duval County, fistfights turn into gunfights,” she told Action News Jax. “We are starting to have a conversation about what it looks like to reimagine community safe.”

Nixon brought her concerns to the City of Jacksonville because parties like these happen nearly every Sunday at the park.

In March, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said a man shot himself with a stolen gun during a gathering of up to 200 people on a Sunday.

In a statement, a city representative said, “The park was closed on Sunday to address a safety concern that has been developing on Sundays at the park.”

Lonnie Miller was back open on Monday. When asked what permanent changes could be made, a representative responded, “We continue to review the policies to ensure the safety of citizens at all area parks.”

Nixon said she talked to city officials about lowering the capacity. ”It’s really important for our children to have a place they can go and burn energy. That’s not going to happen if the park is overcapacity,” she said.

Nixon lost two cousins to gun violence, and she said shutting down the park Sunday was a preventative measure and not permanent.

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In April, a 17-year-old Ed White High football star was killed after a shooting during a gathering at McGirts Creek Regional Park on the Westside.

“I was trying to prevent crime from happening and work with the city to ensure the park was in fact safe,” Nixon said.

The 101-acre park opened in 1995. The new playground was opened in 2019 “with hopes of visitors coming from all around to enjoy the park.”

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