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Longview park officials examine security at facilities

By Jimmy Isaac
Sept. 26, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Longview Parks and Recreation is embarking on a busy six-week period, but along with a schedule of tournaments, dedications and the grand opening of Longview Dog Park, the department is also looking at security for its three dozen public facilities.

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member Dennis Baker asked municipal staff to gather cost estimates for a security system at local parks. The discussion surfaced after board members learned updates on vandalism and theft at Longview parks.

Earlier this month, Longview police reported about $15,000 in damage after vandals hit up three McWhorter Park concession facilities with graffiti and destruction, Community Services Director Laura Hill said.

"If they did that much damage, they were there for a while," board member Ronnie Rice said.

This past Thursday, two air-conditioning units were stolen from Stamper Park Resource Center. On Friday, Parks Maintenance and Operations Director Ray Bostick had security caging installed on new AC units at Stamper Park Resource Center that anchor the unit to the ground and prevent theft.

"This type of equipment wasn't available until in the last few years when it has become a more common thing," Bostick said. "It makes it very difficult to steal that unit. (A thief) would have to yank concrete units out of the ground."

Board Chairman Les Rickett asked city staff to find out whether money is available for alarms or other security systems on parks buildings.

In other matters, Hill listed scheduled events involving Longview parks, recreation and community services over the next six weeks, including the Oct. 6 Keep Longview Beautiful undertaking to decorate medians for the fall. The nonprofit group began helping in the endeavor one year ago to help the city cut costs.



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