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Restroom vandalism again a problem in parks

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The arrival of summer weather has again coincided with vandalism in restrooms in Vandalia’s parks.
At its meeting last Thursday, Vandalia Park District trustees discussed possible ways of addressing the ongoing problems with the restrooms.
Park district Superintendent Kent Torbeck said that the vandalism has included stuffing the toilets and then flushing them, smearing substances on the walls and “throwing trash everywhere.”
District Trustee Steve Hawkins said that he would talk to Vandalia Chief of Police Jeff Ray about increasing patrols in the parks.
Trustee Brian Stout said it may be time to consider another taking an additional measure.
“I agree with Marj (Blythe, another district trustee) – security cameras are not out of the realm of possibility,” Stout said.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, Stout reported that he had met with members of the Old Capitol Foundation about the district’s request for foundation funds to help pay for renovations to the district’s swimming pool.
“They reviewed the information, and they want a little bit more information,” Stout said, explaining that foundation representatives want more details on how the district plans to raise the $1.3 million needed for the renovations.
Stout also reported that he had talked with a bond attorney, discussing generalities about a bond issue for the pool project.
In other action:
• Hawkins said several residents have asked about the possibility of a dog park in one of the district parks.
He said one possibility would be to use the small park at the east end of Madison Street.
“We wouldn’t have to do a lot to turn it into a dog park,” Hawkins said.
He said that the only cost to the park district would be moving up a fence and adding a gate to the fence, adding that the district could ask local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to get involved.
Asked his opinion about the idea, Torbeck mentioned that he has had complaints about snakes and mosquitoes in the past.
Stout said, “I would like to see us use that park for something.”
Hawkins agreed to do more research about creating a dog park.
• Trustee Dustin Brewer suggested that the district investigate the idea of separating Vandalia Airport from the district by creating an airport authority.
Brewer said, “It will take a lot of time to research it.”
“Some other people have talked about doing that,” said board President Chad Feldpouch.
“We’ll kick (the idea) around,” Feldpouch said.
• Torbeck reported that he had received a letter from a law firm representing an individual about filing a suit, claiming that the woman had been injured in an incident with the glider in the Rogier Park playground equipment.
• Local resident Kelly Klein mentioned a “couple of deep holes” in the Lincoln Loop Walking Trail. Torbeck said that his crew is “getting ready to do a lot of work” on the trail.
• Feldpouch reported that June is the last month that John Blythe will be cleaning the airport facilities.
“I’d like to see that (service) opened up,” Stout said.
The board agreed to place an advertisement seeking bids for the service.