Community Park issues addressed

By Jim McCabe on August 5 at 12:48pm

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Enforcing the hours at Community Park and keeping signs off the fence were topics of discussion at last night’s Jacksonville Parks and Lakes Committee meeting.

Alderman Bruce McDaniel says based on discussions with Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens, there will be increased park patrol. The hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but McDaniel says it’s hard to enforce the hour with openings around the park, including the vacant Jacksonville Developmental Center grounds.

McDaniel says the Parks and Lakes Superintendent is talking to Central Management Services, which currently is in charge of maintaining the JDC.

“Bruce Surratt’s going to talk to his contact with the state and see about getting signage put up on their side too, so it would be universal for the whole area,” he says.

McDaniel believes the increased patrol will be effective, but only as much as the police can be there when they aren’t busy with other calls.

There have been complaints of vandalism around the park, although Surratt noted last night that a frequent target- the gazebos- have been vandalism-free since surveillance systems were installed.

The committee is also directing the city to enforce the ordinance for sign placement on the fences around Community Park. McDaniel says the Parks and Lakes Committee wants the banners that appear without anyone’s permission to stay off.

“They just seem to appear. We got rid of them for a long time, and now they’re starting to come back again. We want all events taken down, doesn’t matter if they’re our own people or out-of-town. The signage just needs to come down from the Community Park fence,” says McDaniel.

“It’s an eyesore; a lot of people are complaining that you can’t see through the fence, and it’s distracting from the aesthetics.”

Other agenda items at last night’s meeting included discussion on turning part of the park formerly known as Kiwanis Park in northeast Jacksonville into storage space for the Jacksonville Cemetery Department and hiring an off-duty or retired police officer for security at Lake Jacksonville.

There was also an update on a possible bridge on west side of Lake Jacksonville. We’ll have that story tomorrow morning.