Skate Park getting security cameras

Jesse Hollett
Posted 12/14/16

ORANGE PARK – The Orange Park Town Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of security cameras for the newly-renovated Orange Park Skate Park.

The roughly $4,000 cameras will be …

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Skate Park getting security cameras

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The Orange Park Town Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of security cameras for the newly-renovated Orange Park Skate Park.

The roughly $4,000 cameras will be installed by Orange Park-based tech firm Area Communications. The Orange Park Police Department will be able to monitor the cameras remotely from the Gano Avenue skate park.

After the initial investment, the camera’s will cost $75 a month to maintain.

The cameras are also expected to remedy some of the minor mischief the skate park has witnessed after renovations to modernize the park were completed in late September.

The renovations brought with them an entirely modernized, streamlined facility complete concrete street scenes and the nationally recognized Team Paine designer brand housed under the $395,000 price tag.

“It’ll allow us to rest a little easier because we do know that other activities besides skating are going on at the park,” said Anjie Palmer, park operations manager and head of the nonprofit Orange Park Patrons, which has a contract to run the park. “We’ve had a little bit of vandalism – mostly that was during construction – and we find beer bottles and stuff, so I think it would be good to have the cameras there just so we know what’s going on when we’re not there.”

The cameras are expected to alleviate some of the pressure off the volunteer group overseeing the safety of the skaters to allow children to skate during times when no one is watching them within the park’s operating hours.

Eventually, the council members’ discussion turned to the benefits and consequences of opening the park hours to 24/7, allowing anyone to skate at any time while the Patrons are not on duty.

“I agree with the town manager, let’s get some cameras up there, let’s see what’s going on, let’s give it a trial and error and see if that solves our problem and keep an eye on the place,” said Mayor Eugene Nix. “And if that does [work] then let’s unlock the gate” and make the skate park operational 24/7.

“We’re trying to figure out a solution to allow more of the town’s people utilize the investment we put over there,” Nix added.

Palmer said police surveillance over the park would alleviate some of the mischief problems plaguing the park as well as “lighten up our burden a little bit.”

“The OPP is all for the park being open, we want the park to be utilized as much as possible. Just because we’re not there doesn’t mean we don’t want people skating,” Palmer said. “I’ll get a call saying ‘hey can you open up the park, the parking lot is dry. Well, I just went over the Buckman Bridge. So this way if the park’s open, if it’s dry they can skate.”

In other business, council voted unanimously to allow the Florida Department of Transportation to purchase and install a fountain in the Wells Road Pond. In previous discussions, the pond was estimated to cost the town between $15,000 and $20,000.

Now, the only cost to the town will be the burden of electricity as well future maintenance, which, according to Public Works Director Chuck Pavlos, will likely be negligible.

The fountain construction project will be slipped in with FDOT’s current $3.9 million landscaping project along U.S. Highway 17 and Kingsley Avenue.

In other business, the Historic Clarke House Park playground castle is receiving a makeover after being destroyed by a tree during Hurricane Matthew in October.

Orange Park Town Council unanimously approved spending $30,071 to replace the castle with plasticized composite decking material to restore the castle to its original design.

The town contracted with New York-based playground designers Leathers and Associates, the original builders of the playground, to purchase the new equipment.

The town’s purchasing policy requires sealed bids for purchases over $25,000 or greater, but due to the urgency in replacing the playground, the town voted to waive the requirement.

In other business, general employees’ pension fund assets that were moved to a Florida Municipal Pension Trust in April earned $226,000, a move that resulted in $2.4 million more than estimated to the trust than initially estimated. Previously, non-union employee pensions were held in New York Life insurance investments.

“The fund earned $226,000 a quarter, now that might not make as much sense until you compare what New York Life earned for us the previous year, this is the entire year, they earned $120,000, so we’ve earned in one quarter almost twice what we’ve earned the entire previous year…and the year before that,” said Town Manager Jim Hanson.

Money saved means taxes stay low and more funds for discretionary spending is freed.

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