Protecting our Parks

Protecting-our-ParksIn these past months, I have nearly always looked to the bright side of subjects and events. Sometimes we are all called to face the cold hard facts of the world around us. Too many of us, when confronted with uncomfortable situations, bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. Like little children running and hiding from something that is frightening and hoping that it will all go away and life will return to normal. Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works.

I had a long conversation today with an up and coming young couple who moved here about nine months ago. They live not far from East Park and walk there on a regular basis. They mentioned that in this past month, they have seen three major fights going on near one of the shelter houses. Each time the police were called and the fighters quickly dispersed. They shared their concern that perhaps these incidents are creating a precedence of more fights in the coming summer months. I was absolutely shocked to hear this. East Park is one of Mason City’s jewels and to hear of this type of behavior taking place there is quite disturbing. I did mention to them that if they see another fight starting, make no hesitation to call the police. East Park is too well known and frequently used by our law abiding residents to have it turn into a center for brawling.

Several days ago, a man who lives near the park said he didn’t walk his dog past a house that is close to the downtown due to the residents of a home who at that time jeered him and his dog as he walked past. Fortunately, that particular structure has changed ownership and hopefully will have far better tenants living there. To have peace of mind while enjoying leisure walks is a must. If we do not keep our public areas free of aggressive dis-order, then we will consider ourselves prisoners of an environment that we have allowed to form. There will always be good people as well as bad, but when the bad people consider themselves free to do bad things in a way that affects the general populous, then it’s time to stand up and say “No!”

We have all heard of some of the nasty parks in other cities where drug deals and muggings take place. Not one of our parks should ever have even a whisper of a reputation like that. Sometimes during the summer months, I stop and get a take out lunch and drive to East Park and have my own little picnic at one of the tables. I am going to stay positive as well as confident that I will find East Park as delightful this summer as I have found it to be in all the summers past. If it’s not, then we as a community must step up to the plate and bring it back to what it was. Protecting our parks and public areas must remain high on the list of community involvement.

Joe Chodur

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