A new day for Columbia's Douglass Park

Douglass Park's pavillion is slated for demolition as part of Columbia's comprehensive renovation plan.

Dozens of Columbia residents and members of city services gathered at Douglass Park for the third annual Douglass Park Baseball Game.

However, a backdrop of music and fun did not stop people from wondering about the future of the park.

Douglass Park has a troubled history.

"It was a really bad park," said Columbia resident Michelle Farrar. A lot of shootings, a lot of drug deals, not too good at all."

Columbia resident Phillip Williams said he wants all Columbia residents to feel safe at the park, which has suffered a decline in visitors after several violent crimes including gun violence.

"I really hope the outcome is for people in the area to see Douglass Park doing something fun, not for all the negative things that you hear or may have heard about," Williams said.

However, not everyone at the baseball game agreed with the city's decision to radically redesign parts of the park. Tosia Mizner said she is unhappy that the pavilion she and many others congregate under will be demolished and relocated.

"It's an awesome place, everybody's invited, from adults to babies." Mizner said. "It's cool to be down here, as long as you're around the right people and everybody's on the same page."

Renovations to the park are already underway and include constructing a new sidewalk system, building an outdoor amphitheater, and demolishing the existing pavilion.

Columbia Police Officer James Meyer said the renovations are intended to encourage more Columbia residents to make use of the park's many amenities.

"Douglass Park has had a reputation for the past couple years of being a dangerous place," Meyer said. "We want to change that so that people can actually take advantage of this park. It's a beautiful park, we need to get the community out here to see that."