Park manager wants to light up park for safety

LISBON – The village’s new park manager believes a security light will help prevent adults from hanging around the playground after dark.

“We have people in Play Town in the middle of the night,” said park manager Dana Blackburn at this week’s meeting of Village Council’s park committee.

Blackburn said some young adults use the unlit Play Town playground as a place to meet after dark and she suggested erecting a dusk-to-dawn security light to keep them away or at least make it easier for police to see who is lurking about while on patrol.

Councilman Joe Morenz suggested calling police when it happens, just like nearby residents do whenever they hear swearing from youths playing basketball at the park.

“Mike (Police Chief Mike Abraham) told me they can’t live up there,” Blackburn said.

Morenz suggested using a motion detection light. “That might deter someone (more) if the light comes on, and if it comes on the (residents) will know someone is in there” and can call police, he said.

The other committee member in attendance, Roger Gallo, was perplexed why any older youths would be at Play Town, regardless of the time of day. “There’s no reason for teenagers to be in a place for kids,” he said.

Morenz pointed out there is a larger swing at the park and “my daughter is 14 and she uses that swing.”

Blackburn said the problem occurs after dark, when the park is supposed to be closed, and she was referring to older youths and young adults.

In other action, Blackburn reported the Lisbon Area Chamber of Commerce appears to be going ahead with hosting a summer kickoff festival at the Sadie Van Fossan pool and park complex, which is where the Play Town playground is located.

The chamber had asked the village to pay half the $3,000 cost of having Froggy Radio broadcast live from the June 7 event for four hours, but council declined, pointing out the organization receives $20,000-plus a year from the village hotel tax that it can use to pay the expense. Although Blackburn had to leave last week’s chamber meeting early, she believes they decided against doing a live broadcast.

Gallo said while they support the chamber when possible, council must also keep in mind the village’s financial limitations and needs, noting they ended 2013 with only an $80,000 surplus in the general fund.

“That doesn’t mean I’m down on the chamber. I’m not … but have you seen the roads we’re driving on?” he said.

Morenz also talked about following through on efforts to create a walking path connecting the pool/park area to Logtown Road and the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail.

The committee also discussed erecting a new bridge spanning the Middle Fork of Middle Beaver, linking Lions Club Road to Willow Grove Park. A wooden-and-cable bridge existed at the location for years before it washed away in the 2004 flash flood.

Gallo said he has looked into erecting a new bridge only to learn it would cost about $250,000 because of all the new regulations that would have to be met.

“That’s ridiculous. The Boy Scouts would go down there and build one for nothing,” said Angel Morenz, Councilman Morenz’s wife, who attended the meeting.

Talk then turned to the swimming pool, and Blackburn said the last of the 11 lifeguards to be hired are in the process of obtaining their Red Cross certification. She also said if they were able to heat the pool it would attract more users, and a heating unit could be purchased for under $3,000.

Councilman Jeff Snyder was absent from the meeting.