JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mayor Lenny Curry and the City of Jacksonville have launched an investigation into the safety of city parks following the death of 3-year-old Amari Harley over the weekend.
Harley went missing Sunday afternoon at Bruce Park in Arlington during a birthday party. Later that night, his body was discovered in a water tank.
On Monday, Curry contacted Harley's family to let them know that he is deeply saddened by the tragedy and that the city is mourning with him and the family.
"What Amari's family has suffered is unimaginable," Curry said. "As a father with young kids, it is heartbreaking to see a day of fun and family enjoyment become a nightmare."
At the time of Harley's death, plastic lids covered the two water tanks at Bruce Park. City crews replaced those covers with wooden covers, but on Tuesday, replaced the wooden covers with concrete.
Jacksonville's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, as well as its Public Works Department have been assessing the safety and security measures of all city parks since Monday, Curry said.
There are 400 parks in Jacksonville. Bruce Park is one of 76 parks with septic tanks or lift stations for restrooms. Like all systems, each month these tanks are inspected.
On Tuesday, it was revealed during City Council that Bruce Park was last inspected on Sept. 12 and its October inspection was planned at the end of the month.
Curry stressed that the city is still gathering facts about what happened leading to Harley's death. He also promised accountability.
"If mistakes were made [by the city], I will ensure that there is accountability and ensure that our parks an public spaces are safe," Curry said.
He said stressed that now isn't the time to "point fingers," but rather mourn with the family.
"This isn't the time to point fingers at neglected infrastructure in the past," Curry said. "It's a time to mourn with the family. Let the facts bear themselves out, follow the facts where they lead and do our jobs."
The investigation into Harley's death remains active.
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