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Take back our parks: Protecting public safety and access

August 16. 2018 11:55PM

Manchester is rightly proud of the nearly 2,000 acres of green space across the city, including parks, fields, and trails.

Its many parks are part of the Queen City’s identity, and contribute greatly to the benefits of living in the city.

But Manchester’s parks have suffered in recent years from drug dealing during the day and vandalism at night. Parks Chief Don Pinard says his crews have to deal with trash and graffiti “almost nightly.”

Pinard is asking an aldermanic subcommittee to increase fines for violating park ordinances, which prohibit people from being in public parks between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Pinard says people without cars to register at City Hall ignore the $10 tickets. If that’s the case, we’re not sure higher fines would be a deterrent. Cameras and motion sensors are expensive, and easily vandalized. Pinard says he doesn’t have money in his budget for these high-tech solutions.

We will need to turn to the Manchester Police Department to keep the city’s parks safe and accessible. Rules are being broken, and need to be enforced.

Asking officers to patrol the parks more at night will take time and effort. Budgets are tight, but this should be a priority for aldermen, and Police Chief Carlo Capano.

Manchester should take back its parks for the benefit of everyone in the city.

Outdoors Local and County Government Editorial

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