BOSTON (WHDH) - Community members are calling on the city to take action regarding the unsanitary conditions at Clifford Park in Roxbury, where used needles scattering the ground have been making the area unsafe for families.

Some neighbors even tried to close off the playground at Clifford Park.

“We will continue to do so because it’s outrageous,” said Leon Rivera, one of the neighbors who tried to close the playground.

Rivera, who lives a few blocks from the encampment at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, said Clifford Park is constantly littered with needles and families nearby have had enough.

The city quickly removed the signs neighbors put up Thursday and crews were later seen pressure washing the playground, but Rivera said he’s calling for prevention, not reaction.

“This is not a new issue but things have definitely gotten worse,” said Rivera. “It’s not just Clifford Park, but Clifford Park is just right in the heart of everything that is happening.”

Problems at Clifford Park have been going on for years, forcing one youth football team in 2021 to relocate due to dirty needles. Just last week, a Boston Police officer was poked in the foot by a hypodermic needle during a volunteer cleanup there.

The city said it’s taking several steps including the recovery services outreach team canvassing the neighborhood every morning and afternoon. The city’s mobile sharps team also sweeps the park twice a day with a needle disposal bin sitting just outside the playground fence, but Rivera said more needs to be done to ensure the kids’ safety.

“That wouldn’t be happening in Beacon Hill. That wouldn’t happen out there, why is it acceptable here?” said Rivera, who added the needle disposal bin sends the wrong message.

Rivera said the city should instead address the root of the problem: the city’s drug and homeless epidemic.

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