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Music playing at Mitchell Park geared toward families, city says

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 03, 2023

If you visit Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo, you may have noticed music playing near the playground. The city says it’s a pilot program aimed at making the park more welcoming to families and kids.

The idea to have music playing at Mitchell Park’s playground was brought forth by San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson.

“We know that music helps kids learn. We know that music helps families have a good time and so we can create some ambiance and really set the stage so that people know that the playground and the surrounding park is there for families and kids," Johnson said.

He says the songs include, "things like 'Wheels on the Bus,' you know, those big hits and we've deliberately picked that music and selected that music because we want the music to really reflect the environment that we're trying to create out there."

But not everyone visiting the playground is a fan.

“That’s what we have to listen to," said Jayme Campbell who visits the park. "It's terrible. It was. I came one day and there was just this horrible music playing. It wasn't exactly kids’ music. It was like kids’ music on acid that you'd like hear at a rave. It was just terrible.”

On Friday, just the sounds of birds chirping and nearby traffic could be heard. The music is supposed to be motion-activated, but city representatives could not say why it wasn't playing.

“I’m so glad it’s not playing anymore," Campbell said.

“I like that it's peaceful," said Nahco Caballero, another park visitor, adding that although he never heard the music, as a parent, he prefers the quiet.

“I mean, here they can play, they can scream, they can do whatever they want, and they're not just being bombarded by sound all the time. Like you walk into stores and you get music, you walk in doctor's offices — music, you get in your car, you go home just constantly hearing things," Caballero said.

City officials say the target area is only Mitchell Park as it’s the only park in the downtown area with a playground and a restroom where the speakers are located.

“Research shows that kids learn with music, and they're in their development stages, and so if they can have some music that accompanies their outside play on that playground, all the better," Johnson explained.

When the music is playing, it’s only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Asked if the music will affect the homeless population at the park, Johnson said he was unsure.

If you have feedback about the playlist or the volume of the music, the community is encouraged to go through the "Ask SLO" app or reach out to the city’s parks department.