Park Board hears security issues update
One month after hearing neighbors share horror stories about untoward nocturnal activities at Jaycee Park, the Greencastle Park Board received a rather tame follow-up report.
Asked by City Councilman Steve Fields to provide an update of the situation near the end of the September Park Board meeting, Park Director Rod Weinschenk said he has requested and received additional police patrols at the park, which is tucked into a rural area southwest of the Putnam County Regional Airport.
He also noted that park personnel have been monitoring activity at Jaycee Park at various times throughout the day over the past month or more.
“Every time they were out at Jaycee Park there has been somebody fishing,” Weinschenk said, “so the statement that nobody is using the park (because of ongoing inappropriate activity) is not right.”
A month ago, park neighbors reported finding discarded condoms and syringes in their yard. And voiced the annoyance of headlights beaming into their home all night long from vehicles coming and going at the park after dark. Criminal activity was also apparent with break-ins to their vehicles and outbuildings noted.
But the piece de resistance was their report of hearing gunshots and having a bullet flash about six inches past the neighbor’s head as he mowed his yard.
Nothing of that order has been reported lately as Weinschenk noted all city park property is supposed to be closed to traffic between 11 p.m. and sun-up.
However, that does not necessarily keep everybody out, he agreed.
For example, homeless people have been found camping out at Robe-Ann Park and recently four cars with sleeping occupants were discovered out at Big Walnut Sports Park after closing.
“We could put a gate out there,” Weinschenk half-heartedly suggested, “but all that would do is keep the wrong people out.”
In other business beyond the pool revenues issues covered in the Saturday issue of the Banner Graphic, the Park Board:
-- Heard Weinschenk report that the Park Department has taken possession of 17 decorative lamp posts donated by DePauw University, which recently upgraded its campus lighting. The lamp posts have been put in storage and could be used, Weinschenk suggested, if the park decides to add decorative lighting out at Big Walnut Sports Park or redo the circle drive at Robe-Ann Park as has been discussed in recent years. The lamps will probably need rewiring and some tops may need to be replaced but the decorative posts with exposed aggregate finish are in good shape, the park director noted.
-- Approved the fall program guide put together by Assistant Director Erin Ray covering the October-February period of park activities.
Among the featured upcoming special activities she reported will be a new glow tag game, a capture-the-flag event, kickball tourney, fall dodgeball activity, three-program Halloween in Greencastle event, Dec. 15 Breakfast with The Grinch at Putnam Inn, a noon Dec. 31 Itty Bitty New Year’s event for youngsters to celebrate and a January wine bottle-decorating event in conjunction with the Putnam County Museum.
-- Agreed to look at increasing shelter rental fees for 2019 as a mean of increasing park revenues. More discussion on that is due the next couple of months.
-- Learned that the Friends of the Park annual meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 in the new bandshell at Robe-Ann Park.
-- Heard that the next Movie in the Park, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” is set for Saturday, Sept. 22 at the bandshell.
Joining Park Director Weinschenk, Assistant Ray, Mayor Bill Dory and Councilman Fields for the two-hour meeting were board member John Hennette, Beva Miller and Cathy Merrell and ex-officio member David Taylor from the Library Board. Board President Tim Trigg was absent.
The next meeting of the Park Board is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at City Hall.