1/14/2014 10:02:00 PM Braidwood Park District aims for additional public events
by Tonya Michalec Staff writer
One of the biggest attractions of any municipality is its parks. In Braidwood, the park district is small in terms of tax dollars collected, but mighty in the number of activities provided.
And board members intend to expand on services in 2014.
Park district members have been working with the Braidwood Police Department to keep illegal activity out. The payoff, says Park board commissioner Josh Bolatto, is complaints have rapidly diminished.
"We have been keeping up efforts with the Braidwood Police Department to keep drugs out. Drugs have no place in a park," Bolatto said. "The park district has the same zero tolerance approach for illegal activity in or around our parks as does the police department."
Over the past year the district received over 60 percent fewer complaints, about a dozen, compared to year before.
It helps that surveillance cameras were installed throughout the parks too.
"We have our cameras going 24/7 and if something is happening in our parks, we do see it," Bolatto pointed out.
Proposed legislation designed to help fight the instances of illegal drugs at parks was denied. In February of 2012, Senate Bill 3582, entitled "Cannabis - Public Parks" was introduced in the state senate by State Senator Sue Rezin. The proposal was intended to create stiffer penalties for anyone caught with illegal drugs in public parks, similar to tough penalties that are enforced in school zones. The bill stalled in committee, however, and failed.
The park board is planning to still work with Senator Rezin's office and the Illinois Association of Park Districts in 2014, to get the bill passed.
Meanwhile, the board spent much of the year working on numerous upgrades and projects. In 2013, the district created a new ice skating rink on the northernmost end of the Old Smokey Park, located on W. First St.
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