After vandalism, Heflin council votes to close parks at night
by Laura Camper
Jul 09, 2013 | 4348 views |  0 comments | 134 134 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In response to vandalism in the bathrooms at the city park last week, the Heflin City Council on Tuesday voted to close the city’s public parks at 10 p.m. each night.

Parks and Recreation Director Tammy Perry told the council members at their meeting Tuesday that the bathrooms at the park across from the Heflin Recreation Center had been vandalized sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning.

It wasn’t just an accident in one of the bathrooms, said Jon Swafford, athletic director for the department. There was toilet paper strewn about, among other things, but no structural damage, he said.

“It was obvious they meant to do it,” Swafford said.

It also wasn’t the first time the bathrooms had been vandalized, said City Clerk Shane Smith.

“It’s happened in previous weeks,” Smith said.

Perry suggested the council members close the parks, the pavilions and bathrooms at the watershed and the public recreation areas at the Community Arts Center at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. in an effort to keep vandals out of the facilities. The parks won’t actually be closed with a gate but the facilities will be closed, Perry said.

Closing the parks will allow the police to patrol them and clear anyone off the premises, said Heflin Police Captain A.J. Benefield, acting police chief.

Mayor Rudy Rooks suggested closing the parks at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. After some discussion, the members decided to close them at 10 p.m. every day excluding special events.

The measure passed unanimously.

In other business the council members:

• Heard the results of the city’s fiscal year 2012 audit. The audit was for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and ending Sept. 30, 2012, said John DeLoach, certified public accountant. The city’s fund balance dropped during the year by $421,440 to $798,231 during the year mostly because of capital expenditures, DeLoach said. The city budgeted $207,000 for capital expenditures and spent $506,622 on capital expenditures, he said.

• Changed the date of the next City Council meeting from July 23 to July 22.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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