Neighbor shreds skate park  

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The Waterloo City Council on Monday night heard from a neighbor of the skate park about what he termed as “dangerous and illegal behavior” taking place there.

Alan Mitan has lived with his family in the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue for the past six years. This property sits next to the skate park located at 316 N. Library Street.

“We’ve seen kids get in fights. We’ve seen kids Taser other kids,” Mitan said. “We’ve seen and heard kids ask not to be shot with BB guns, and we’ve seen drug deals go down in the parking lot. We’ve seen the aftermath of vandalism on the ramps and we’ve seen that the bathrooms have been locked on multiple occasions because of vandalism. On top of that, we’ve experienced harassment. They play their loud music and when asked to turn it down, we get profane language and then they turn it back up, louder.”

Mitan, who also addressed the Waterloo Park District Board directly during its meeting last Wednesday night, added that his wife has been called profane names and his 7-year-old son has been harassed when dealing with youngsters at the park.

“These kids behave this way because they’re being provided an environment where this behavior is acceptable,” he said. “When the police are called, often times the kids leave the scene before police can do anything about it or the police’s hands are tied because there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Mitan did say he was hopeful the recently revised city noise ordinance and a new agreement between the police department  and park district for quicker security camera access will help right the situation.

Waterloo Police Chief Jeff Prosise agreed that the new noise ordinance should help his officers in enforcing instances of loud music at the park. 

Mitan voiced frustration, however, with responses he’s received thus far from the park board on this matter.

“When the president of the parks department is called, I get sayings like ‘these are good kids,’ ‘you knew what you signed up for when you bought the house,’ and ‘sticks and stones break my bones but words may never hurt me,’” he said. “These are the wrong sayings to be saying in this time and day and age. It’s clear that the parks department and park board are incapable of enforcing their own rules and regulations that they’ve set as ordinances at the skate park. The city and the police department need to assist them in coming to a solution and a way forward to curb this kind of behavior.” 

Mitan said the park board has agreed to let him be placed on its Sept. 14 meeting agenda with an invitation to Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith, Prosise and Aldermen Jim Trantham and Jim Hopkins to attend in an effort to, as he said at the park board meeting, “facilitate a discussion in a public forum so no one can turn a blind eye to this anymore.”

“Parks should be an improvement to a community and not a hindrance,” Mitan told the city council. 

At the conclusion of his remarks, Smith made sure Mitan was aware the park district is its own separate taxing entity and told him to call the Waterloo Police Department “right away” if there’s ever a problem.

Mitan said he was aware of the separation between the city and park district, but stressed that “the city is a superceding legislative body that governs everything within its city limits – including the parks – and they have superceding jurisdiction over the park board.”

Other council news

Aldermen approved an agreement between the City of Waterloo and Monroe County for coordinated communications services in a three-year contract to expire Sept. 30, 2025. For more on this emergency dispatch agreement, read the county board meeting article on page 6A.

The council approved the purchase of four life-size solider statues at a cost not to exceed $25,000 for placement at the veterans memorial in Lakeview Park. These statues, which will be paid for out of city video gambling proceeds, will be similar to the first responder statues displayed at Zimmer Park. World War I, World War II and Vietnam War soldiers and a female solider will make up the four statues.

Smith running again

Also on Monday night, Smith informed the Republic-Times that he will be seeking another term as mayor in 2023. He continues to recover from a stroke sustained in May but has presided over the past three regular council meetings. 

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