PORTSMOUTH — Residents of the Mound Park neighborhood expressed concern about the condition of the park and its safety hazards.
One of the founders of the Mound Park Neighborhood Watch, Karen Hill, spoke on behalf of the community’s concerns with the conditions of the park at Monday’s Portsmouth City Council Meeting.
Hill suggested having the wooden playground equipment torn down due to its lack of safety.
“Why can’t we have a waiver to have contractors come and take this wood away? It shouldn’t be that big of a deal,” said Hill.
The park currently only has one sign prohibiting anyone from using the playground equipment facing Grant Street.
“We have boards missing from the fence on the backside and people are just walking down that hill and straight into the park,” said Hill. “These aren’t just kids. These are adults who are getting on the playground equipment, smoking their dope, doing whatever they are doing, and also putting graffiti all over the playground equipment.”
Hill stated along with the playground being unsafe, the shelter houses are also due to many holes in the ceiling and exposed nails in the picnic tables.
“We have an issue with officers patrolling,” said Hill. “We have dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and I have worked with dispatchers, we have done everything we can, and I understand they send someone when they are available and the workload they have, but we need help.”
Dispatchers are usually contacted when someone contacts Hill with the issue.
“Connex has invested a lot of money in this park and not only are the four-wheelers tearing up this park but they are getting on these paved areas and eventually tear those up too,” said Hill.
Hill shared that when Connex put in the lighting system at the park, they were also promised cameras, but they were never installed. Mound Park has also had bleachers torn apart and stolen and the concrete has been painted.
Hill also asked the council why Mound Park wasn’t being utilized like Tracy Park.
“We see things that pop up in the news saying it’s going to be at Tracy Park, or this is going to be at Tracy Park,” said Hill. “We have more houses, more people in our area and more people would probably come because you have to have a car to get to Tracy Park, but you can walk to Mound Park.”
Mound Park is the largest park in Portsmouth and Hill hopes community members will begin to utilize it.
“There are three councilpersons who live in Mound Park. We need help from all of these council people,” said Hill. “We can’t do this all by ourselves and we had super support when we first started this group, but I don’t feel like we have that support that we had.”
Hill shared the watch group use to have liaison with the Portsmouth Police Department in the group, but no longer do.
“We want to keep the park neighborhood watch group going and utilize our park,” said Hill. “We want to thank the city garage, they have been doing the once-a-month garbage pickup and you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys and the police department overall when we call are there like that, but we just can’t seem to get them up to the park and we don’t know why.”
Due to council rules, the city council was unable to answer any questions during the time of Hill speaking.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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