The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Board Discusses Profanity And Vandalism At Stronghurst Park

By: Shirley Linder, Quill Editor

David Knutstrom started the discussions Monday night, August 4th at the town board meeting regarding the profanity and vandalism occurring in the village park, which apparently has escalated to the point of mothers telling Ronnie Gittings they will not take or let their nine years go to the park and be exposed to such language.

Knutstrom said the park is not being utilized by those it was designed for-it's being kind of over ran by juveniles and young kids that really don't seem to be up to all that good. Even the respectful parents don't use the park due to that fact.

Knutstrom said, "The parents shouldn't be sending their children there unless they want them to learn a whole new language, and some of the words you can't say on TV. Sometimes there are juveniles there acting and speaking in such vulgarity, I should say shouting, it would make a truck driver blush. A lot of that is due to no supervision up there what so ever, they realize it so, that's a way to get away from their house and go up and really make themselves seem a lot bigger and tougher and meaner than what they really are. So it just continues."

Knutstrom continued, "When I am outside doing stuff and I am hearing what I think I am hearing I will walk over there and take matters into my own hands and do what is morally and ethically right. It is just a concern before they go into upgrading the village par, maybe they should seek a solution for the unruliness up there when it exists. It's not an every night occurrence. On one occasion, I just went over there and told them to leave. There were some that came up to my belt and some that came up to my chest and I told to leave, which they did but not before they told me they were an assassin."

He doesn't see where anything more needs to be added to the park because there's a lot less green and a lot more blacktop and concrete up there and it's just being over ran with too many obstacles crowded into one square.

He concluded by saying he just wanted to bring it up to see if there is anything that can be done or a thought process working toward some of the juveniles up there, at which point Deb Hale said the board members were aware of what was going on and they were trying to deal with it.

Brendan Schaley said he was glad David had brought the issue up and he proceeded to read a list of complaints he had received within the last 30 days.

Those included:

Mike Bohnenkamp said it is just a matter of catching them which will take some undercover work and letting them know they are being watched.

Still on the park issue Knutstrom was asked if he had heard anything regarding the spray park, good? bad? do we need it? Do we want it?

Knutstrom said "no," he honestly hadn't, but his personal opinion was Dr. Pogue needs to be remembered, but don't know if the spray park is the answer. Said he was neither for nor against it, but would have liked to see a Memorial Hall established where there could be town meetings or rented for a family reunion.

Deb Hale said several community members have approached her that, while everyone believes in a memorial for Dr. Pogue, she is surprised they are not in favor of the spray park and some are upset that the village will be taking over the expense of it once it is installed. Hale stressed this is not her opinion or that of the board she was just reporting what had been said to her.

Upon discussing the spray park, which the village donated $5,000 toward, there is a concern now that the water usage could become a problem. When the idea first began it was on a much smaller scale and water usage was discussed and could be handled, but now the size has increased and will require more water usage.

Ronnie Gittings said there was a possibility in the future, if they park is used a lot, they might need to look at it being coin activated to compensate for the water usage. The board will not know what the liability insurance will cost until they see how big it is.

Continuing on with the village park, Melody Hansen, representative of Tyco Co. out of the Quad Cities, had a demo presented as to how cameras would work in the park and the things they could do to identify individuals.

Following the demo she presented the board with a proposal and asked the board to give her more specific ideas as to what they wanted the cameras to do so they could be designed to the village's needs.

It was decided to have her back again next month with a proposal for 5 cameras as opposed to the 9 she presented this month.

After she left, Tony told the board he was talking to another company and would get more information next month.

In other business:

The board entered closed session on a motion by Deb Hale, seconded by Mike Bohnenkamp for the purpose of personnel at 9:15 p.m. Entered open session at 9:42 p.m. with no decisions.

Present: Mayor Gary Root: Trustees, Brendan Schaley, Mike Bohnenkamp, Deb Hale, Tony Anderson, David Vancil, (Betty Waterman absent); Employees, Lou Ann Nortrup, Ronnie Gittings, Mike Nelson, Bill Rasmussen; Guests, Randy Jarvis, David Knutstrom, Melody Hansen, and Shirley Linder

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. Due to Labor Day this meeting is on Tuesday instead of Monday.