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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 21, 2011
Village installs cameras in one park, play equipment in another
By Jo E. Prout
VOORHEESVILLE The village board this spring has worked to make its parks safer and more attractive to residents by adding security cameras to one park and new equipment to another. The board is also hoping to acquire used skate-park equipment.
Earlier this month, the board had two security cameras installed in the park behind Village Hall.
“We’ve had some issues over the last couple years that’s less than desirable,” said Mayor Robert Conway at the board’s June meeting. “Families were concerned about going to the park.”
Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Karen Finnessey told The Enterprise that teens who were openly smoking pot and drinking alcohol at the park had used profanity around younger children and refused to share the playground equipment, on an increasingly regular basis. Worried mothers had stopped taking their children to the park, she said. Broken bottles and other forms of vandalism were reported, she said.
The board consulted with law enforcement officers, and agreed that cameras were a “good first step, a measured first step,” Conway said at the meeting.
“Cameras are cheaper than stationing someone in the park,” he said.
Trustee John Stevens said that the cameras have night vision and zoom capabilities.
“They’ll cover the whole park area,” Conway said. “As a deterrent to illicit activity, the tapes will be reviewed.”
The nearby village of Altamont police recently used security camera tapes to identify and press charges against a teenager who spray-painted “I am gay” at the local school playground.
The Voorheesville board agreed last month to pay $12,463 for new playground equipment for the Scotch Pine playground area.
Stevens told the board that a small playground committee, including himself, had chosen the equipment from Playland, Inc. The new structures have a capacity to accommodate 36 children, ages 2 to 12, and are green and tan to match the equipment in the Nichols Park behind Village Hall. The structures include several slides, Stevens said.
Some of the older equipment at the Scotch Pine playground will be kept, he said, as it is still in good condition.
Trustee David Cardona and Superintendent of Public Works Will Smith have worked for months to acquire used skate-park equipment from the town of Rotterdam. The men visited Rotterdam this spring to inspect the disassembled ramps and half-pipes in storage there.
In May, the village board agreed to send a letter to Rotterdam Town Supervisor Francis Del Gallo, offering $2,500 for part of the town’s used skate-park equipment. According to Finnessey, the village has not received a response yet.
Local resident and former school board member David Gibson attended the June village meeting with his son and asked about the possibility of a skate park going in.
Cardona said that the village had fenced in a corner of the park below Village Hall two years ago, with the intention that a skate park committee would raise money for equipment. That committee “fell apart,” he said.
He explained about the offer for the Rotterdam equipment.
“Our understanding is that it may take a little while,” Cardona said. “There was a grant used for the [equipment].” The board sent the offer letter to both Rotterdam and the agency that helped the town purchase the equipment.
“We’re hoping this works,” Cardona said.