Swartz Creek officials to address trash problem at parks

SWARTZ CREEK — City officials are brainstorming ideas for keeping the parks – mainly Elms Park – neat and tidy over the weekends.

“A couple times this year, we’ve come in after the weekend and the park has been left in bad shape,” said Andrew Harris, director of Public and Community Services. “Sometimes, the park is packed on Sunday night and, on Monday, it’s clean. Other times, it’s trashed. It’s happened two or three times this year (in) June.”

The problem usually occurs after someone has rented a pavilion for an event. However, city staff suspect that the people trashing the park aren’t the ones renting the pavilions.

The city charges a refundable, $100 deposit to encourage renters to pick up after themselves and to cover the cleaning costs if the renters leave messes.

Most recently, after the pavilion was reserved for an open house, city crews found a lot of balloon chunks, as if someone had had a balloon fight, and fast food containers.

“It wasn’t open house-type stuff,” said Harris.

A couple of ideas floated at last week’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting were to put up gates at the park entrance to deter visitors after dark, installing security cameras, and requiring renters to provide time-stamped pictures of the pavilions before and after the events.

The park board will revisit the issue at the August meeting.

“It’s a problem, and we’re looking for ways to solve it,” said Harris.