Thursday, Sept. 28

City wrestles restless topics      Send a link to a friend

Vandalism and other issues plague downtown

[SEPT. 28, 2006]  Concerns for public safety and the protection of public properties were at the heart of a couple of youth issues that Lincoln aldermen discussed on Tuesday evening.

Vandalism has been on the rise in Lincoln's two downtown parks. The ongoing problem has been a thorn in the side of city and county officials for more than a year, but has recently escalated with garbage and hazards being left in the park.

Grounds chairman Jonie Tibbs would like to see dual cooperation between the city and the county to "nip it in the bud" before it gets any further out of hand.

Both Scully and Latham parks belong to the county, but city attorney Bill Bates said that city police can patrol anywhere within the city of Lincoln.

Assistant Police Chief Harley Mullins said that they have been to the parks and on several occasions had to clear them at dusk.

Tibbs said that with what is going on, she would like for the police to make monitoring the parks a priority.

Mullins said that it is already a priority when it can be. Sometimes there are three guys working and a call comes in that takes all three.

It was noted that the problems have increased since school began. Latham Park is the pickup and drop-off point for problem students who attend the Salt Creek Academy. Officers have been called down to the park to break up fights.

It was suggested the maybe those students should have a different location to be dropped off and picked up where they might have supervision.

Alderman Verl Prather suggested that the police station might be good; it would save officers a trip.

A citizen presented Mayor Beth Davis with a box of trash that they collected from around just one picnic table.

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Any citizen can help clean up in the parks and help us out, Davis said. They can clean up anyplace, she added.

Aldermen continued discussion on another downtown matter that was broached last week. Alderman Wanda Lee Rohlfs said that there is an increasing problem with youth bicycling, rollerblading and skateboarding in the downtown area. She is concerned for their safety, as well as that of others. An elderly person coming out of a store could get nailed by one of these, she said.

She has talked to some of them and called the police, she said. It has not done any good. Now she has gotten writing on the Main Street office window where she works. She said that the next step might be to talk to their parents.

The mayor said that there is an ordinance against these activities in the downtown area and there are signs posted.

The city attorney confirmed that the ordinance prohibits the activities in the business area, but the definition of the business area as defined in the ordinance was very complex.

[Jan Youngquist]

City wrestles restless topics


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