MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — People are taking advantage of the parks in Piatt County, but not in a good way.
Many have been vandalized. The forest preserve decided to do something to prevent it from happening.
Michael Dixon is the Piatt County Forest Preserve Park Manager. He says, “Probably 98-99% of the people are wanting to enjoy the park. There’s always that 1% who are the reason we have these signs.”
At the entrance of Valentine Park in Monticello, a bright yellow sign will probably catch your eye. Cameras were put up in several parks, including this one, to watch out for anyone who decides to break the rules.
Dixon says, “It got to the point where we were having damage every other day on a split rail, which is a cost to the tax payers.”
Vandals have ripped out the park bench, hacked through a tree, and even left syringes from drug use on the ground.
Dixon says, “We’ve had different situations in different parks where we’ve had problems with the drugs, which is a big concern all throughout the county for us.”
Annette Huisinga lives across the street from valentine park, and has seen much more. She says, “We show up one morning and there are rolls of carpet and padding thrown up against the fence.”
That’s not all that has been left behind. People have also been illegally dumping their yard waste. You don’t have to look hard to find a potted plant or sweet gum pods scattered all across this area. None of that grows there naturally.
It’s not right for people to dump where it doesn’t belong and it’s not pleasant for people who frequent the park to look at. Huisinga says, “We cannot just take it for granted and we need to teach our kids the appreciation for us having this.”
The Piatt County Forest Preserve has one request: just follow the rules. They also have cameras up to monitor other places including Mansfield Park and the Bucks Pond area.