SOUTH FORSYTH — A south Forsyth park will be locked up overnight in an effort to curb recent vandalism.
The decision involving Chattahoochee Pointe in extreme south Forsyth led the county’s parks and recreation board to discuss similar measures during non-use hours at other parks, particularly those in more remote areas.
During a meeting Wednesday night, department director Jerry Kinsey said the vandalism at Chattahoochee Pointe has been caused primarily by people driving heavy-duty vehicles in grassy areas.
“They go mud bogging and tear up the property,” he said.
Kinsey said after the meeting that the park, which is open from “daylight to dark” at 5790 Chattahoochee Park Road, would begin being locked up in about 30 days.
Earlier in the meeting, Kinsey recalled how when the county had fewer parks, staff members would lock them all overnight. However, that became more difficult from a staffing prospective as the number of parks grew.
“Some of these parks with athletic fields, you may finish your baseball games at 8 [p.m.], but then you have people out playing tennis until 11 [p.m.],” he said. “So now you got to hire somebody to stay there until 11 o’clock to lock the gate or somebody to ride around and [lock up all the parks] … then you have somebody working until 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the morning.
“Those are the things we got to consider. Time, money, is it that much vandalism, which ones are worth it.”
The practice of always locking up parks also led to the problem of vehicles sometimes getting stuck inside at times.
“When we’d lock their cars in, they’d run over the gates,” Kinsey said. “We eventually came to the conclusion that locking gates may be locking bad people in.”
Ultimately, the board on Wednesday directed staff to look at each individual park based on the factors involved to see if locking it up overnight would be worth it.
“We’ll just take it on a park by park basis,” said chairman Todd Holbrook.