Warning Sign About Needles Causes Concern Near Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park

An ominous warning sign at an art studio in Golden Gate Park touched off a flurry of concern over drug needles at a popular children’s playground  in San Francisco.

The sign apparently was posted by a staffer at the park. It was seen Monday at the Sharon Art Studio, which is next to the Koret children’s playground, causing concern over drug needles at the park.

A photograph of the sign was posted on social media site Reddit on Monday morning, and by 11 a.m., there were more than 50 responses from readers talking about the warning.

The sign, which has since been removed, read: "Caution, hypodermic needles were found in this area. Please take proper safety precautions to protect yourself and others. Health and safety department has been contacted by rec and park supervisor Ellen McCarthy."

A user on Reddit said the sign was near Koret children's playground, next to the arts studio, and that touched off concern for the safety of children and families. Families in the park said they haven’t seen drug needles, and cleanup crewman said it has not been a particular problem.

On Monday afternoon, the sign was taken down, according to McCarthy, who said she couldn’t talk with the media. A spokeswoman for the San Francisco Rec and Parks Department said the sign was put up by a well-meaning staffer at Sharon Art Studio last winter on the exterior of the building.

The response to the sign reflects a level of concern in the community, after a recent NBC Bay Area investigation into "dirty" San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell also responded Monday, saying cleaning up the city will be a bigger priority in the next budget.

"We’re going to put a significant amount of resources toward cleaning our streets," he said. "The city of San Francisco deserves it, our residents deserve it, and it’s going to be a focus going forward."

Rec and Parks Department officials declined to discuss the incident and did not confirm if a needle was found at the Sharon Art Studio. They did say the warning went up on the wall last November and was only taken down Monday after it showed up on social media.

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