Neighbors Upset About Fitness Enthusiasts Flooding Neighborhood Park in Coral Springs

CORAL SPRINGS, FL – For Sandra Pineda, the noise at the Coral Springs park often starts before 7 am.

Living across from Three Mountains Natural Area at 9200 NW 1 Street, she hears people talking loudly, sometimes playing music, as they run up and down the park’s unique hills in mostly flat South Florida.

It’s been this way for more than a year, but the pandemic has made things even worse since many gyms shut down and people from across the region flocked to the park to work out, she said.

“This park is for passive use. It’s not supposed to be an outdoor gym,” said Pineda, who has lived along the western side of the park since 2002.

Earlier this month, Pineda and another resident brought their concerns to Coral Springs city commissioners.

The problems they highlighted went beyond noise, illegal parking, and trash from the visitors. They also said visitors are eroding the park’s trails and natural habitat for burrowing owls, coyotes, ducks, and other animals.

“The park is deteriorating, and these animals are gone, or they’re showing up in our yards,” Pineda said.

City officials have been meeting with the residents for months to resolve the issues, but residents said the two sides are at an impasse.  

Residents are pushing the city to assign at least one park ranger to the park to enforce the rules, Pineda said. Some have even suggested the city build a hill at the nearby Riverside Park where there are less neighbors.

“We appreciate the homeowners’ frustrations with the increased activity during these unprecedented times,” City Commissioner Joy Carter said. “We will look further into their complaints to see what could be additionally done. My concern is that this is a public park, meaning that it is open to all.”

According to a city sign at the park, the park is for passive use only. The use of exercise equipment is restricted. Amplified music equipment is prohibited. Organized and commercial groups are not permitted.

Despite the restrictions, residents said groups of fitness enthusiasts continue to show up at all hours of the day, even when the park isn’t open.

Residents said they understand that by living next to a park, they have to accept nuisances such as occasional noise as well as people streaming in from outside their neighborhood. But in the past year, they said the tradeoff has gotten to be too much, as the neighborhood has been flooded with visitors.

Ellen Bees, another resident, told city commissioners that the city needs to follow its own rules for the park.

“We’re afraid that our neighborhood is becoming less safe,” she said.

The issue also came up at a recent Slice of the Springs public meeting, during which Rob Hunter, the city’s parks and recreation director, said he’s working with staff in addressing residents’ concerns.

“We’re going to continue putting our heads together to find a solution for this area,” Hunter said.

For Pineda, the solution is simple.

“Just enforce the rules,” she said.


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