VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A new playground has been strategically built to keep sex offenders out of a Daytona Beach neighborhood.
The playground is located on Cinderberry Lane,in the Baryberry Lakes neighborhood off of LPGA Boulevard. By state law, registered sex offenders with victims under 16 cannot live within 1,000 feet of a playground, school,or child care facility.
A Daytona Beach ordinance makes that even stricter by banning registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of where children congregate.
Right now, there is a school on the north end of the neighborhood, a park on the other end, leaving homes inside the neighborhood fair game for sex offenders. This area has more than 50 kids.
Assistant State Attorney J. Ryan Will developed the idea. He told Local 6, "It's just to know that they're out here happy, they don't need to know why we built it."
By trade, Ryan Will is a prosecutor, but he's a resident of Bayberry Lakes in Daytona Beach. Months ago, he saw agents swarm one of his neighbor's homes.
"I found out that they were executing a search warrant for someone who had an interest in 4 and 5-year-old children and I decided that this was a person we didn't want in our community and I'd look to rally support behind the idea," Will said.
With a number of parents, they collected money and got themselves a playground.
"The law exists for a purpose and we've simply using it as a weapon in this case to keep people out of our neighborhood that prey upon us," Will said.
Holli Priddy is a mother who says she feels positively about the new playground.
"I think it's a pretty good idea because there's a school over there and you've got a lot of kids in the neighborhood," Priddy said.
Local 6 checked, and according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, two registered sex offenders live within a mile of the new playground.
One who lived within a few hundred feet has since moved out. However, had that person still been there, he would have been allowed to stay because the playground was built after him.
The project cost nearly $30,000, collecting about $100 per household. And with the way the law is written, an inexpensive swing set would prohibit registered sex offenders from living nearby as well.
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