Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

City to purchase security cameras for park

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City officials plan to purchase and install security cameras in Westview Park following an incident of vandalism that had occurred late last month as part of a reported crime spree that originated at the Mercer County Fairgrounds.
City councilors at Monday's regular meeting approved legislation to make several appropriations, including $3,959 toward the purchase of security cameras from NuWave Technology for Westview Park. The ordinance was passed as an emergency measure after councilors suspended the rules requiring three public readings.
This is the second time vandals have caused damage to Westview Park this year, mayor Jeff Hazel told the newspaper, explaining the need for a camera system.
"It's not about spying on people, but it's about when there is an incident - maybe there's a fight, maybe something else happens or damage, obviously - we're able to try to quickly nip that in the bud and put a stop to it," he said.
Mercer County fair officials on social media noted three individuals had broken into a fairgrounds building and commandeered golf cars, driving them from the east end of the fairgrounds to Celina's Westview Park.
One cart was driven into Westview pond and others were damaged, with bent frames, busted lights and ripped off tire rods. On fairgrounds, the carts allegedly tore up the newly resurfaced track and knocked over flower boxes and portable toilets. At Westview Park, vandals reportedly tore from the walls bathroom stalls and toilet paper and soap dispensers. They also were accused of destroying a small free library that was donated by the Rotary Club.
Hazel said the perpetrators must be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, adding the investigation is ongoing.
The legislation also appropriated $4,580 for security cameras at the new Celina Police Department impound building on city property next to the solar field on Meyer Road.
Additionally appropriated was $130,358.88 received via federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Hazel told the newspaper he's looking into the possibility of transferring the funds to the Mercer County Small Business COVID-19 Grant Relief Program.
It makes more sense for the city to use the county's program rather than create it's own, Hazel said.
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Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
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