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Residents protest closing of Kaolin Park in Sandersville | News

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Residents protest closing of Kaolin Park in Sandersville

What Sandersville police are calling "illegal activity" shut down a Washington County Park earlier than usual this evening.

"We came in and we were told we had to leave the park at 4 p.m.," Tim McAfee, coach of Washington County's Little League team, said.

That's six hours earlier than Kaolin Park usually closes.

"It got cut short due to them closing the park down for some reason," McAfee said.

That reason, according to Sandersville Police, was illegal activity happening at the park on Sunday evenings.

"This is due to the fact that we have some illegal drinking, there's been some drag racing going on out here," Lieutenant Max Smith said.

Smith says crowds of up to 300 people have been warned to clean up their act.

"The park's been left in a mess with beer bottles, beer cans, littering."

Smith says there have been reports of people selling alcohol inside the park.

"Naturally, if you've got drinking, there's going to be public intoxication. There's going to be DUI's, possibility of DUI's, we're scared of public endangerment. We can't have that, especially on Sunday, and on Sunday we have city ordinances, no drinking on Sunday. Period."

But crowds that gathered to protest the closing of Kaolin's gates say that's not the case.

"What we look forward to is every Sunday, coming out, everybody getting together, playing kickball, playing basketball, playing softball. That's all we've got to do," Jrametries Kirksay said.

Kirksay acknowledges that some people have been drinking inside the park. But another protester, Rashad Castleberry, says it's not their job to police it.

"We're responsible for ourselves. They have a job to do also. They should be getting out here trying to make a change in this community also," Castleberry said.

Ruby Adams says she sees both sides of the problem, but wishes it had been handled differently.

"It's not the whole community that's causing the problems, but the whole community is who is suffering."


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