Parks Director Craig Anderston was blunt.
"Unless we agree to entirely fence in all of our parks, people will find a way to get in and cause damage," he told the Parks Board Monday night.
At issue is vandalism at Park Arthur and other parks. An "off-roader" drove on the sledding hill on Oct. 24 and left tire ruts along the north side of the hill, marking the second such type of damage in the park in about a year, Anderson said.
He also said a truck drove across the ball field at Jensen Park, and more remote parks, like have been vandalized, too.
However, he said the keys to preventing and catching vandals was basic.
"Once we see more usage in the parks, activity like this will be less of an issue. We have never had the luxury of having the staff to drive around the parks after 10 p.m., so we also need to rely on neighbors to report activity to the police," Anderson explained.
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However, Alderman Neil Borgman, who attended the meeting, spoke for neighbors who said they were concerned over activity that makes them feel unsafe.
"I get repeated calls regarding parties that are going on in the parking lot (at Park Arthur) and other things they don't want to know about. These are continuing things that will plague us and we need to convince the police department that these areas need to be regularly patrolled," Borgman said.
Board member Butch LeDoux defended the department, saying that "we do have a police department that has always stepped up to the plate, and you can't beat a radio," he said, referring to vandals in the park trying to flee if police are pursuing them.
In addition, Anderson said that often the simplest deterrents worked most effectively.
"We've had large boulders put in along Denoon Park, and usually what happens is that a truck tries to clear them, loses an oil pan or gets stuck, and we end up catching them," he said. In addition, cameras will also be used in Park Arthur and possibly others in response to incidents of vandalism.
The board concluded that while the College Avenue entrance at Park Arthur was now closed, further investigation into installing a gate at Martin Drive would need to be done. Anderson will gather estimates on both "cattle gate" and electronic gates for the next board meeting in December.