Vandalism, misuse reported at city park

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — In the last month, park officials have been dealing with vandalism in Huntingburg City Park and the misuse of facilities.

For example, vandals recently caused extensive damage to the toilets.

“There’s really not much we can do about it,” Dale Payne, maintenance foreman for the parks department, admitted during the Huntingburg Park Board’s meeting Monday. “We used to lock up the restroom at 10:30 p.m., but then you’re paying a person to be there to do that.”

“We’re also paying for the vandalism, too,” board member Abby Fink said.

After the restroom was damaged, it was closed down and locked, and an out-of-order sign was put up.

“Well, people broke into it and kept using it,” Payne said. “So now we can’t flush it. It’s a mess right now.”

Parts have been ordered to fix the restroom, he said.

Although incidents have not been tracked, the vandalism seems to happen mostly at night, after ballgames, Payne said. But it does happen during the day too, he added.

“It’s like people are just waiting to do this,” Fink said. “Maybe we should install cameras.”

There have been other instances of misuse. Park board member Mike Fulkerson mentioned seeing a hammock stretched across the gazebo’s opening and a woman laying in the hammock, blocking the door. She was keeping others from using the gazebo on purpose, Fulkerson said. When he told her who he was and asked her to remove the hammock, she was not happy about it.

“I can’t repeat what she said,” Fulkerson said.

Board member Shannon Fuhs said she approached some kids last week who were shooting off fireworks in the park.

“This is a safety issue,” she told the kids, “and we have children over there (playing in the park). They apologized and stopped, Fuhs said.

Park board members said the police should be notified and asked to patrol in the park more, especially in the evening and night.

Fink asked about the ongoing problem of people using the tennis courts to play soccer and whiffle ball. Several people have been seen playing games other than tennis on the courts, and the sign listing the rules had been knocked down, Payne said. The city police have since stopped people from using the courts for anything but tennis, which seems to have solved the problem, he said.

Fuhs said she’s also seen groups of children vaping in the park after ballgames. “We don’t want that in the park either,” she said.

The board agreed that issue of vaping in the park needs to be discussed further.

“I wouldn’t mind revisiting that topic,” Fink said.




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