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Our Opinion: Parks make smart security investment

May 14, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Jefferson City's Parks and Recreation Commission just made a wise investment: a $25,551 contract with Sonitrol to monitor the city's parks.

The parks department has had problems in the past with park vandalism, and this will be the first line of defense against vandalism and theft.

As we recently reported, the security system is monitored 24/7 so Jefferson City police are alerted once someone enters a building without an authorized account code.

"The security equipment at many of the park facilities is over 30 years old and repair/replacement panels and parts are no longer available," Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates said in our recent story. "This investment will upgrade all protected facilities to a more reliable system."

The upgrades would be done at Ellis-Porter Riverside Pool, the Optimist Complex, the Duensing and Vivon ballpark concession stands in Washington Park, the Capital Arts building on Missouri Boulevard, the Washington Park Ice Arena, the Binder Lake concession stand, the woodshop the parks staff uses near the dog park on Sandstone, and the clubhouse and parks' maintenance facility on Ellis.

Gates said the facilities were chosen because they had the oldest equipment and needed the most attention, not due to any specific increases in vandalism.

In August 2020, the parks department had to clean graffiti left by vandals in the Central Missouri Master Gardeners area in North Jefferson City, as well as at Washington Park and Ellis-Porter Riverside Park.

One of the two new sculptures in Community Park was vandalized once last September and once last November.

Hopefully, adding the new Sonitrol system will help to prevent any would-be vandals/thieves. If it doesn't prevent them, hopefully, it will catch them in the act.

The other thing to ensure we keep our parks secure is for you -- Jefferson City residents and park patrons -- to keep your eyes and ears open and report anything suspicious.

News Tribune

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