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Downtown Stockton park reclaimed by kids | News

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Downtown Stockton park reclaimed by kids
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STOCKTON, CA - Imagine a park being used by kids instead of criminals.  It shouldn't be a stretch, but Fremont Park in downtown Stockton had that ugly history.

"I responded to more calls here than I could count.  It was full of people you wouldn't want hanging around," said Stockton police Officer Scott Fogg.

Fremont Park was so crowded with people using drugs or alcohol, gambling, and attracting gunfire, the city and the Bank of Stockton paid to remove benches and tables and lock up bathrooms.

Two months later, the criminals are gone, and students from a downtown charter school have physical education classes there.

"It makes you feel like you accomplished something," said Fogg.

Stockton Collegiate uses several downtown parks for its P.E. classes, so the idea of coming to Fremont Park wasn't completely out of the blue.

"We've really developed some good relationships downtown.   We're out and about.  This is just one more place we're adding," said teacher Shannon Rodriguez.

The Bank of Stockton helped fund the removal of the benches and tables because its employees park north of the block and then walk past the park to get to the main office. Fogg said it's not unusual to see workers using Fremont Park as well now for lunch-time walks.

By tdaly@news10.net

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