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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Park Board discusses vandalism problem

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bill Houck
During the June Brazil Park and Recreation Board meeting, the board discussed a vandalism problem within the local parks.

According to Board President Ruthann Jeffries, Brazil Mayor Brian Wyndham is "extremely upset about the vandalism problem." Jeffries said he is urging the public to call the police if they see anyone vandalizing property within the local parks.

"We've had a lot of vandalism," Park Superintendent Bill Houck said. "We've had tables torn up, benches torn up, a lot of graffiti and nasty words we have to take off."

The board said they plan to start ejecting people from the park or fining them for vandalism.

Two teen boys were recently caught vandalizing a park table, but rather than file criminal charges, the board said they want restitution and community service.

"If the parents agree to restitution and some community service, then that's what we'll settle for," Jeffries said. "If they don't, then we'll file criminal charges."

The board plans to involve the police and evict people from the park who they keep having trouble with.

"You hate to do that," Jeffries said. "But you reach a point where nice has to stop, because I do not want any child to be afraid to be on that playground. Whatever we can do to prevent that, we will do. Those people have to feel safe to be there."

Meanwhile, the park board decided they would like to put up a surveillance camera at the entrance and exit of the pool.

After a missing child incident, the board realized how much of a benefit a camera in that area would be. During the incident, Jeffries reported the lifeguards and police did a great job responding quickly. The child had gone home with a relative and didn't tell the adult they had come with.

"The lesson that taught me is just how easily someone could take a child out of the pool," Jeffries said. "It's not our fault because we have a cashier up front but she cannot remember every adult and how many children they came in with and what they look like."

The board decided to take one of their current surveillance cameras to use by the pool.

In addition, the current cameras they have up have been running, but the park workers must log on to a specific computer and use client software to see the cameras. However, the client software has not been downloaded on all the computers. The software is to be downloaded by the end of the week.

Also, the Humane Society has installed four motion-sensor cameras since the theft of their air conditioning units. The park board plans to look at the Humane Society's cameras to see if they are something the board would be interested in getting.

Meanwhile, a family had recently reserved an area in the pavilion, but when they arrived someone had already taken their area. The people in their area would not leave. It ended up being a miscommunication problem. The board decided to refund the full amount to the family.

To keep the problem from happening again, the park board plans to put up plaques to mark off the different sections. Then, the board will put up signs with the name of whoever reserved the section on the area reserved.

In addition, the board has heard of people reserving a shelter or area in the park without paying, and then the person cancels close to the date so they know others won't be using it. Then the person or group still uses the area or shelter. Houck recommended that a person must pay at the time of reserving in order to solve the problem. The board agreed and accepted the new policy.

Also during the meeting, community member James Garber, a beekeeper, asked the park board if he could put a swarm trap to collect bees near Craig Park in the weeds, off the trails and running track. Houck said he would meet with Garber to look at the area. If Houck approves of the location, the board said they approve of the swarm trap. Garber said he would collect the bees from the trap.

In other park board news:

* During the reading of the treasurer's report, Jeffries said the ending balance for the Park and Recreation Board Fund is currently -$18,103.98. However, she said to keep in mind the tax draw will come in at the end of June, putting them back in black,

* Houck updated the board on the park, saying the landscaping around the pool and in the Forest Park looks very nice. He said PDF, Inc., was not able to repair the cracks in the pool before it opened. He said the community service workers have done a great job power washing the band shell, benches and pool. Houck said Nick French is donating mulch to the parks. Houck is working on getting two needed fire extinguishers,

* Cloverleaf has finished the signs for the park stating, "No smoking or pets in the playground area." Houck said he will pick up the signs this week,

* Recently, the board had overhanging limbs cleaned up within Forest Park.

"We're pretty well ready for the carnival," Houck said,

* During the pool update, Jeffries said the pool opened on June 30. It was open for two days, but then closed for a week due to water temperatures. The pool must be at least 70 degrees to be open,

* Two water sample reports have come back satisfactory,

* Sheriff Mike Heaton and Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen requested to have National Night Out in the carnival area of Forest Park, as well as the pool being opened for a few hours, during the first week of August. The park board approved of the use of Forest Park on a yearly basis so the law enforcement officers wouldn't have to request every year for the area, and

* The board discussed a tree by the swimming pool that is becoming a problem due to the flowers and plant production dropping into the pool area and the pool filter. The board discussed trimming the branches or hosing the tree down to knock off some of the excess flowering. Board members plan to visit the area to survey the tree.

The park board meets the second Tuesday of every month in the Brazil City Hall.

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The good news is parents won't have to bail their kids out of jail or a juvenile facility. The bad news is parents won't have to bail their kids out of jail or a juvenile facility.

The outcome may be continued disrepect to other's property and getting away with it. What might it be next time if not a park bench?

-- Posted by My Dime on Thu, Jun 14, 2012, at 11:57 PM

I'm for restitution, community service AND criminal prosecution.

Make an example of someone, and chastise them to the limits of the law. Thats MY tax dollars they are wasting having to clean up the messes.

-- Posted by Tom B on Fri, Jun 15, 2012, at 1:20 PM

Well, I'm sorry to say it but it seems to me the Board is enabling the perpetrators. If these were adult doing this, would they offer them the same opportunity or call law enforcement? I believe the authorities should get involved and have the situation adjudicated. Once the juvy turns 18 years old, they will expunge their record so it won't affect their adult record. Adult criminals usually don't start by committing a felony, they usually have a lengthy record that builds and builds; beginning with small crimes like vandalism in the park.

Court ordered Community Service is a GREAT idea, and not just one or two weekends, make it count.... they want to vandalize the park, let 'em work, and I mean really work, in one of the city parks. They want to paint things, let 'em paint: buildings, parking curbs, fences, benches. Make Community Service more like military boot camp. Let 'em brag to their friends about how hard they worked. After awhile they will begin to develop "ownership" and pride in the work they do. Believe me, even the hardest criminal will begin to take pride in a flower garden they maintain themselves or something they build by themselves, like tables. Who knows, it may lead to a productive citizen and just maybe even a city employee.

Lastly, be very, very careful about installing cameras at the pool, and by the way where will cameras be monitored from, by whom, who will maintain the films and for how long? Additionally, remember in all occupations, voyeurs and perverts can be found. Do you really want to open that can of worms?? If a 50-year old man sat in his car, in front of the pool entrance taking pictures of kids and adults going in and out, wouldn't law enforcement be call within minutes to investigate; but it's not illegal, is it??

-- Posted by CAB (Concerns About Brazil) on Sun, Jun 17, 2012, at 1:54 PM

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