NW Jacksonville park littered with trash over weekend

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Northwest Jacksonville park named after a fallen officer is a mess after someone left trash all over it.

Park visitors say Lonnie C. Miller Sr. Regional Park is usually a clean place to hang out, but they're upset with the way others left it after this past weekend.

"Don't trash our park, don't trash our place where we have to walk at," said Johnnie Warner, who visits the park frequently. "I mean, if you're going to come, be orderly."

Warner and his friends are mad about the way their park looks. They walk the park often and usually it's a clean relaxing place to be.

"It's just ridiculous," Warner said. "We hate to see things like this happen because we come here to walk and in the morning time, and we just are glad the police came out, because if the police didn't come out it would be worse than this."

Warner said he heard there was a big group of people at the park Sunday night who left trash everywhere and that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office went there to tell the group to leave.

The park opened in December 1995, named for Detective Lonnie Miller, a highly regarded 26-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office who was killed in a robbery attempt.

On Monday, local elementary school students took a field trip to the park, and one mom who chaperoned the field trip was disturbed by the area's condition.

"I really want to take her and leave and go home 'cause it's nasty," Shukena Caldwell said. "It's not usually like this, but I don't know what happened."

Caldwell said the park is normally a clean, family-friendly environment.

"I've never seen it look so dirty," she said. "It's ridiculous -- beer bottles, food, trash; it normally doesn't look like this. I don't know what happened."

The park has benches, grills, picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, trails, a volleyball court and 47 trash cans -- cans that weren't used over the weekend.

Although park visitors are upset, they plan to come back.

Pam Roman, of the city's Parks Department, said there were large groups of people at the park over the weekend and all 10 picnic pavilions were rented out.

Roman said people are not discouraged from using the park but are encouraged to follow park rules. She said alcohol is not allowed there.

Roman said park maintenance will clean up the trash.

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