The Marthasville board of aldermen could upgrade security cameras at the City Park and begin locking the restrooms to stop repeated damage to the facility.
Marthasville is considering closing the City Park restrooms after another round of vandalism.
“I don’t know if it’s kids of what, but they ripped the paper towel dispenser and the soap dispenser off the wall,” Alderman Chris DeVore said during the July 26 board of alderman meeting.
The broken pieces, paper towels and soap were “everywhere,” he said.
It comes just months after a previous round of vandalism when someone “went in there and rubbed feces all over the walls and everything,” DeVore told aldermen.
Aldermen discussed a number of ways to stop the repeated vandalism.
“Unless there’s an event going on, come dark, we close and we lock them,” Alderman Leo Meyer said.
DeVore suggested potentially going further and keeping the bathrooms locked unless the park was rented or playing host to a city event.
“Just lock them up and tell people, ‘talk to your kids and we’ll re-discuss opening them up again,” he said.
Alderman did bristle a bit at that suggestion.
“Then we don’t have any public restrooms at the park. I’m not necessarily in favor of that,” Alderman Nicholas Lange said. “We’ve got families going down there to use the parks.”
Mayor David Lange said it was likely the city would hear from the public if the bathrooms were locked, but he thought that would be a good thing.
“I just think it might be a good idea to send a message to the public because I guarantee you you’re going to get some flack,” he said. “People are going to say, ‘well I was down here with my kids and I couldn’t go to the bathroom.”
Aldermen did eventually back off the idea of closing them permanently, but did consider more strongly the idea of locking them at night.
Devore also suggested sending out a notice to the public before taking any action.
“I’d be more in favor of putting down some sort of notice with the utility bills or on Facebook suggesting that they, the people, help us take care of our facilities,” he said. “There’s been continued vandalism down at the parks. If we can’t come together and keep things maintained, we’re going to start shutting down public services. Give the public an opportunity to try to come around as we work on it.”
DeVore said he would write the statement to send to the public alerting them to the vandalism and the potential closing of the bathrooms.
No decision was made about locking the bathrooms during the meeting.
Aldermen also discussed improving the park security cameras to better identify the potential culprits.
“It’s a public safety thing,” DeVore said. “You could cover more of the park down there. … I think it would be worth getting some upgraded systems.”
There are currently cameras outside the bathrooms. There are no cameras inside the bathrooms, and that would not change if the security system was upgraded.
Officials use the current footage to try to identify suspects in any park damage, not just to the bathrooms.
“I might see people walking from that little pavilion into the bathroom and I can’t tell who it is,” Mayor Lange said. “I might be able to say, ‘well, he had a red jacket on, but that ain’t going to be much good.”
Aldermen decided to get quotes on an upgraded security system, but no other action was taken.
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at email@example.com
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