Unruly behavior forces shutdown of park shelter

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Unruly behavior at the shelter house next to the Greencastle Skate Park has forced park officials to stop allowing the public to rent it for family reunions or any other special activities, which caused concern for one local resident who came to Wednesday night's Park Board meeting.

The woman said her family has rented the shelter house at Robe-Ann Park for family reunions for years, and she was upset to learn she could no longer do so. Park officials told her there are two shelter houses at Jaycee Park, which she can use for that purpose.

Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk explained that it is not the shelter house renters who are causing the problems, but the people around it that are causing the problem.

The activity reached a peak earlier this year, but park officials have found out who is causing the problems and have eliminated those individuals from the park.

"We are seeking out the people that are causing the problems and are banning them," Park Board President Leslie Hanson said.

Weinschenk said that in one instance, an individual rode his bicycle through the shelter house while a family was using it and stole food off the table, eating it as he rode away.

Earlier this year, a group providing activities for persons with disabilities reported that individuals outside the shelter house were making fun of the persons using it.

Since that time, the decision to stop renting the shelter house for special events was made. Park officials are still trying to decide if they can wall off the shelter house, to make it more private, or move it to another area of the park.

"The last thing we want to do is lose that shelter," Weinschenk said. "But the action of the few who cause problems has outweighed the ones who use it."

In other business, the park board:

* Approved Greencastle Cub Scout Pack No. 99 to have an overnight camping activity at Robe-Ann Park on Sept. 22-23. The board voted to charge them $25 for the night.

* Approved the use of Robe-Ann Park for a free, public car show from 5-10 p.m. Sept. 29. Musical entertainment will be provided and anyone with a classic hot rod, of any model, can come and show off their car. The event is free of charge and is being organized by local residents Scott and Lisa Eaton. For more information, call 653-8974.

* Learned that the city has received $122,000 in Brownfield grants to be used for petroleum remediation at Mapleberry Park.

* Learned that the city received a second Brownfield grant to be used to continue with testing and clean-up of the former Clearwater's property, which the city recently acquired at the southwest corner of Robe-Ann Park. Park officials are trying to find out if there are underground fuel storage tanks that are still in the ground from decades past, when the property was used for a filling station. Environmental laws require the city clean up the site before moving forward with any changes to the property.

* Learned that all but one property needed to construct People Pathways Phase III, Part II, which runs from Tzouanakis School to Deer Meadow School along Albin Pond Road, has been appraised. The city still hopes to purchase the necessary right-of-way for the property by the end of the year and construct the fitness trail, possibly, next year.

* Received an update of Big Walnut Sports Park, the southernmost portion of which the city intends to rename Big Walnut Community Park. Weinschenk said the city was informed, by the Dept. of Natural Resources, that it would receive $129,000 in matching grants for the project. He said most of that money will go to create parking lots and pave a walking trail. Other project, which Weinschenk hopes to complete by use of volunteer labor, includes the construction of a playground, which the city already owns, installation of a nature area (which he would like to use the Master Gardener's for) and installation of a disc golf course. The 9-hole course will cost $10,000, Weinschenk said.

The Greencastle Park Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, at city hall.

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  • What kind of crowd did people think the skatepark would attract? Instead of punishing families by closing the shelter, close the skatepark down.

    -- Posted by beachbum on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 7:24 AM
  • If the people causing the problem have been banished from the park why is the shelter house closed to families? Now, taxpayers can not use the shelter but may get to pay for it being moved. This is a case of punishing the wrong group of people. The squirrels must be running the park.

    -- Posted by MB on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 7:45 AM
  • Ditto to the above two letters! That being said, wouldn't it be more effective if we three (AND everyone else who agrees with the concept of punishing the guilty instead of the innocent) sent our comments to City Hall, Rod W., and the other directors of the park board instead of the newspaper?

    -- Posted by cll on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 4:10 PM
  • This is crazy. Where are the officials? They need to patrol that area on Sat and Sun and nail the ones causing the problems.You cannot punish the ones paying taxes and money to rent the shelter houses. Stop trying to stop people that are driving 57 in a 55 and go for the ones causing the problems....this so common!

    -- Posted by barrreeve on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 9:08 PM
  • I agree with what has been said. You are punishing the majority of honest people that wish to use the shelters for family events instead of punishing those who cause the problems. The troublemakers will continue to abuse the shelters as it cannot be patrolled 24/7, so all you did was give them free reign to do what they want. In effect, they won!

    -- Posted by matincher on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 9:42 PM
  • If you want to email or phone the Parks and Recreation Director, I've provided the web address below.

    You all have great comments. Let the Director know how you feel.


    -- Posted by jcrevi on Thu, Sep 6, 2007, at 10:20 PM
  • Correction!

    The webpage below does not have the proper email address, however, the Parks and Recreation Directors correct email is rweinschenk@greencastle.com

    -- Posted by jcrevi on Fri, Sep 7, 2007, at 9:25 AM
  • Ditto on what beachbum said.

    -- Posted by purple_heat on Mon, Sep 10, 2007, at 3:35 PM
  • Ditto to beachbum? Fortunetly, for the the younger ones in greencastle, neither one of you have any authority to take anything else from them. Again, if the guilty ones have been removed, why shut down the shelter? Greencastle has been notorious for punishing the innocent instead of removing the problem. Hopefully ,the city council,along with others in the community, will work together to get this worked out, without closing anything. Let this be a first of many ,to solving the problem , instead of just taking things away ,again.

    -- Posted by redrose2 on Tue, Sep 11, 2007, at 8:12 AM
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