Jemison officials address park problem

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A park is usually a peaceful place where people can relax. Jemison City Park has become anything but.

City officials have received reports of loud, profane language and even louder music–and are vowing to take back the park for those that would use it as intended.

City Council member Sam Reed brought up the issue at Monday’s City Council meeting, and Mayor Eddie Reed voiced a strong opinion.

“I think our parks are for the people,” Eddie Reed said. “They should not have to be afraid to go to our city park, so we’re going to stop that in that park.”

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer said the problem is young people–as many as 50-75 on weekends–gathering around the basketball courts and “creating an environment where people just don’t want to go out there.”

Fulmer said the basketball courts are there for people to use, but it’s often the hangers-around that cause problems.

Officials suspect many of the culprits are out-of-towners that have somehow decided on the park as a gathering place.

Fulmer said he doesn’t intend to let that continue.

“We’ve taken steps to try to curb that, and we’re going to continue to do it,” he said.

Playground equipment and bathrooms at the park have been vandalized. Members of the undesirable group are suspected, but Fulmer said no one has yet been arrested or charged with any crimes.

But ramped-up patrols will continue.

“People should be able to enjoy it, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they do,” Fulmer said.