Security concerns at park result in gate hour changes

Posted June 7, 2018 at 10:50 am

Beginning next month, some “nighttime” visitors to Mountain View Park will see a change, especially for vehicle motorists, as the Clinton County Recreation/Park Board, out of concern for vandalism and security problems, has opted to close the main gate (to motor vehicles only) during nighttime hours.

The board, with eight members present, made that decision and voted on other issues at its regular meeting last Thursday night, May 31, which also saw park recreation and maintenance directors Tim Moons and Michael Hood, respectively, on hand.

Issues pertaining to park security, vandalism and illegal dumping at the park dominated most of the one hour and 15-minute session.

Although not all board members were enthusiastic about “locking the main gate” to motor vehicles at night, they did see the need to secure the park and help keep vandalism down.

The park will remain open at all hours for walk-in persons who use the fields, basketball courts, and primarily, the walking track, but only the main gate to keep motorists out will be locked.

The board took the action following discussion with the park maintenance and recreation directors about some of the problems experienced after ball games late at night, and the trash and vandalism problems that are dealt with on a daily basis.

Moons and Hood also both noted that people dumping their own household waste in the trash bins at the park was a problem and would be addressed. They noted they have found some items of trash where names and/or addresses are attached and will probably turn those over to law enforcement or the county attorney’s office for possible prosecution.

The board also discussed, but took no official action at this time, pertaining to placing security cameras at certain areas inside the park.

Following some lengthy discussion on the issue, board member Matt Smith made the motion to close the main gate to motorist traffic only, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., and utilize the Albany Police Department (whichever officer is on duty), to lock and unlock the gates at those designated times. Smith’s motion was seconded by Randy Speck and passed unanimously.

Although board chairman Wayne Glover and board treasurer Gina Poore expressed concern about having to lock the main gate, they stressed that the security of the park was the most important issue, and the park would still have access for people who park at the gate and use the inside of the park.

The board also voted on some other issues, including paying the monthly claims and bills on a motion by board member Paula Little, voted to purchase a commercial grade weedeater for the park at an approximate cost of $224.00, as well as forming a committee to work on ordering $3,000 worth of trash cans (which is in a fund account) to be placed at the park.

The board also voted to keep the prices for the U.S. 127 Sale spots at $60 per spot and $100 for Farmer’s Market space.

Several buildings and grounds issues were also discussed, including the need for some small swings for the toddler playground.

The board also voted to declare some items as surplus property to be sold and voted to take bids on having the basketball courts revamped, including backboards and goals replaced, and the courts blacktopped and striped.

If enough funds are available from the Healthy Hometown Coalition grant, other possible improvements in which to expend the money was discussed, among them having the softball field drainage problem fixed and repairing and/or replacing some dugouts, among other possibilities.

Moons also mentioned the problem with “graffiti” at some places in the park, saying he felt anyone caught doing such activity, juvenile or adult, should be prosecuted.

The board also received some positive news, with Moons informing the board that in a most recent Cabinet for Human Resources inspection, the park showed a 96 percent positive rating, apparently the highest the park has received, with only a few minor problem areas listed.

Board Chairman Glover also commented that he had received a lot of compliments recently about the appearance of the park and how good Moons and Hood were doing to keep the park cleaned and fields in good condition.

The board also discussed purchasing more “no smoking” signs and signs about hours at night in which the park would be closed to motor vehicles.

Moons also thanked Albany Plumbing and Election, Potter’s ACE Hardware, Save-A-Lot, Sign-Pro and Henry Tucker (who worked on lights) for their donations to the park.

Finally, it was also noted that the park website at Mountain View Park, which highlights upcoming events and other information, is now up and running and can be liked on Facebook.

The next regular meeting of the park board is scheduled for June 27 at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.