By Rachel Kytonen
Isanti Mayor George Wimmer is concerned about the thousands of dollars in damage being done to city parks by vandals.
During the Isanti City Council meeting Tuesday, May 3, Wimmer asked Police Chief Ron Sager what can be done about the vandalism.
Sager said vandalism has decreased by 10 percent from last year, but agreed there have been recent incidents.
Sager said Lieutenant Gene Hill has put vandalism as a high priority for the officers, and said Officer Adam Gau has been walking through the parks in the evening watching for any type of vandalism.
“We do have a large gathering of juveniles at Mattson Park, and that does seem to be a problem area,” Sager said.
Following discussion, the council approved a motion to place “no trespassing” signs on city property.
Wimmer said he is glad to hear the police department is remaining on top of the issue.
“I’m happy to hear Officer Gau is walking the parks at night and we are keeping our resources on this,” Wimmer said. “I’ve been trying to take my kids to Mattson Park more. One day I saw a bunch of kids trying to tip a picnic table upside down.”
The Council also mentioned the concerns with juveniles playing inside the culverts on Main Street.
“There are dangers with these culverts, and if our officers see the kids in there, they will chase them out,” Sager said.
It was also mentioned there have been problems with vandals at Redbird Field and the BMX track.
Council Member Ross Lorinser said he wants to make sure the city is doing everything it can to stop the vandalism.
“I want to make sure we are doing proactive patrols in our parks and we are doing something,” Lorinser said. “I want to see proactive work in the parks, and we are walking around the parks and making positive contact with people in the parks.”
City Planner/Parks Coordinator Lisa Wilson explained park board members have been discussing the removal of the Wickstrom home from the Bluebird Park property.
She explained there are liability and safety issues with the home, and each year public works spends time re-boarding the home to keep potentials vandals out of the structure.
Wimmer explained the original home was removed a long time ago, and it has created constant issues for the city. He said he also talked to the former owner and they don’t have any sentimental ties to the home.
Following discussion, the council approved a motion to allow someone 60 days to move the home at their own cost, and at their own risk. If no one takes the home within 60 days, the council will readdress the issue, and decide how to proceed.