COMMENTARY: Sick of babysitting Spruce Hill Park area
By Jesse and Kim Lusty, Paul and Karen Leonard, Brad and Roxann Lusty, Karen Kuhnau, Bob and Rochelle Lusty, Geri Rindahl, Dave and Sue Lusty, Spruce Hill Park area
In response to the vandalism at Spruce Hill Park (Oct. 27 Echo Press): Thank you Kristen Peterson for acknowledging and sharing a common concern that has been around forever. It's nice to hear that someone is actually utilizing the park for the intended purpose.
We, as surrounding landowners, feel as though our voices of concern are not heard. We have been "babysitting" the park property and surrounding area for far too long and feel as though our voice has only become a nuisance. We continuously witness suspicious behavior, which has been reported as requested, and have had personal encounters to help rid us all of this behavior with no luck.
We have been told that Spruce Hill Park is an area known to have one of the highest volumes of drug activity in the county, but what is being done? It's not only the park, but the Spruce Hill Church has also been a target and other areas beyond if you want to talk about trespassing. When vandalism and destructive behavior occur in a church, there is a real issue for having a lack of respect for anything. We are more than thankful for law enforcement officials and the park department for their services. However, if this activity is clearly known about, why is there not action taken to enforce a different plan other than relying on the chance of hoping they will get caught?
Again, the solution has been to rely on surrounding landowners, who have tried to be proactive to no avail and are beyond sick of this behavior. When a call is placed, and by no fault of law enforcement, the response time to a rural area is too long for anyone to be caught. This has been experienced many times. There is no attraction for most park users at Spruce Hill Park other than this type of destructive and unlawful behavior.
Yes, the beauty itself is a focus, but there is no playground equipment that would draw families and children. This destructive activity not only ruins the beauty of the park for those trying to enjoy it as intended, but it also creates a safety concern for us and our children.
We realize this activity occurs mostly during evening and night hours, but if a higher volume of traffic occurred by park users, even during the day, it may lessen the attraction to the folks who are using it for no good.
This rural park is a natural attraction to people who have no respect and get satisfaction from destructive behavior because they know there is a lack of observation and enforcement of rules in this specific park.
Why can't there be gates that close the park off after hours? Or, since we have been told that the costs are apparently too high for signs, gates, monitoring, etc., sell the property and buy another area for a park that is closer to the general public. This could lessen the attraction and focus of vandals and be more easily monitored, because as local concerned landowners, we're sick of being babysitters of your property and having destructive behavior in our area.