HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – The Hilliard Division of Police is reminding the community the city’s First Responders Park is not a playground.

The park includes steel from Ground Zero and a wall with the names of 9/11 victims.

“This is a very sacred place for our first responders and our community,” said Deputy Chief Ron Clark. 

Community members have been using the park for the wrong reasons more this year than in the past, according to Hilliard Police. The behavior includes young kids playing in the reflection fountain, climbing on the steel from Ground Zero and the wall with victims’ names, and occasionally skateboarding. 

“Just please be respectful. I know the water looks good and everything but right across the street we have a splash pad anybody can enjoy. These are just to remember and they are for reflecting. They’re not for swimming,” said Deputy Chief Clark. “We have plenty of places to skateboard and bike and everything, this is just a unique park that is just to remember the first responders we lost.”

Jeff Morales is a retired Norwich Township firefighter. He grew up in New York City and still had family there on 9/11. In the days following September 11, 2001, he went back to NYC to help at Ground Zero. He also was part of the group from Hilliard which helped bring pieces of steel from NYC to Hilliard’s First Responders Park. He says people being in the fountain and some leaving trash behind is disrespectful the park.

“It is a little disheartening, little saddened by it but we would hope people would take care of themselves and remember what this park is,” said Morales.

Both Morales and Deputy Chief Clark don’t believe anyone is trying to damage the park and hope this can be used as a chance to  educate them more about 9/11.

“I don’t think it’s anything malicious or trying to harm the park in any way but I guess we’re just asking for a little respect, take care of it and honor it,” said Morales.