Neighbors Of Tulsa's Springdale Park Say Old Rec Center Attracts Crime

Wednesday, October 30th 2013, 4:52 pm

Police are investigating two sex crimes they say happened within the last two weeks at Springdale Park, near East Pine Street and Lewis Avenue.

Neighbors of Springdale Park say crime has been on the rise since the Rec Center there closed.

Nathan Weiss was arrested for sexual battery, released and then arrested days later for forcible rape. On October 20, an arrest report shows a woman accused Weiss of grabbing her breasts in the parking lot of the park. Four days later, another woman says she was sitting on a bench in the park, when Weiss came up and started rubbing her hands. He walked away and came back, grabbed her, dragged her behind a wall, and raped her, police say.

After he was arrested, Weiss admitted to police he had been arrested two or three times for sexual battery and rape in Michigan, according to his arrest report.

10/29/2013 Related Story: Police Arrest Suspect In Sexual Assault At North Tulsa Park

We recently got an email from a viewer calling Springdale Park Rec Center a mecca for criminal activity. We spoke to Tulsa Police, who said they regularly patrol the area.

"What I always try to stress to the citizen is, we need you also out there to be our eyes and ears for us. I always say, 'If you see something say something.' Give us a call," said Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley.

We talked to nearly a dozen neighbors who live in the neighborhood just north of the park, who say the boarded up building at the park attracts criminal activity.

No one wanted to speak on camera, but one person said a homeless man aggressively solicited them when they were walking with their kids through the park. Another told us they wouldn't let their kids play there without watching them closely.

Almost everyone we talked to said people hang out around the building at all hours.

"If you go to a park and there's somebody just hanging out and it doesn't look right, give us a call," Ashley said. "You know, I have people all the time saying, 'I don't want to disturb you guys. You guys are too busy.' No, give us a call, let us come check it out."

We reached out to the City of Tulsa, who admitted dilapidated buildings like that are a public safety issue. A city spokesperson added they were planning to demolish Springdale Rec Center, until the City Council asked them to postpone it.

A City of Tulsa spokesperson issued the following statement regarding the rec center:

"Per the Tulsa Parks Master Plan, it was recommended to replace dilapidated and blighted structures, which can cause public safety issues, to be replaced with new updated amenities. Eight parks have been identified for improvements and two parks are now complete. Plans for the other six parks were proposed by the Parks & Recreation Dept. and at the request of the community; the City Council asked the Parks & Recreation Dept. to postpone demolitions for Springdale and B.C. Franklin recreation centers until the first of the year."

A city spokesperson told News On 6 they can't speculate whether or not the Springdale Rec Center will now be demolished.


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