As reported a year ago, a group of fellow Clark Lakers have volunteered their time to stand up for the interests of the lake with focus on the parks at each end of the lake. This group of residents created bylaws, mission statement, and chose a name to describe the activity–the Clark Lake Parks Commission. The inspiration to form the Commission resulted from the problems experienced at the Township Park (west end) and concern over the County’s plans to enhance the park at the east end.
As it stands today, much of the maintenance and improvements in the County Park are the direct result of Clark Lake residents volunteering their time, effort and money. The Community Center has for years borne much of the upkeep. That includes mowing and other lawn care for the entire area from North Lake Road south to where the Trail begins. At one time the Community Center was responsible for maintaining the two buildings (now unused) by Ocean Beach Road, including supplying toilet paper for the restrooms. The Spirit Trail Committee maintains the portion of the path that runs through the Park. The Garden Angels add their magic touch to the Tom Collins memorial, the area around the house, and the Triangle. The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation recently paid for an automatic irrigation system for the Triangle. The County provides a dumpster, a port-a-potty, and mows the area near the lake. Last year, the County cleaned up some of the shoreline. If the Park looks good, you have fellow residents to thank.
The County would fund impending enhancements to the east end park from revenue garnered from an already-passed property tax increase. Should the lake worry? When the Township improved the west end park, it became more popular, and problems increased. The Township took action. Columbia Township Police installed security cameras and monitored them. When illegal activity was observed, police followed up. Not until then were an abundance of abuses mitigated.
The County Parks Department has moved forward with a plan to purchase playground equipment for about $40,000. The Clark Lake Parks Commission wondered why fill the park with more people when security has not been addressed? To understand this more fully, please click here to read a letter addressed to the County Parks Department last year. The letter points to the possibility of a repeat performance of west end problems occurring at the east end, if security is not taken seriously.
Incidents occur in the County Park. This one was caught on video. At the time David Elwell was Columbia Township Chief of Police. According to the chief, “two men arrived in separate vehicles to ‘talk.’ Things got physical, one went to leave in his car, the second man chased after him with his truck.” So, it was possible for two vehicles to travel deep into the park. What if a child in the park had been standing in their way? Nothing to stop them.
When the County Parks Department’s held a community session, fencing was named as the number one issue. The Clark Lake Parks Commission also believes fencing should be top priority. Without fencing, parking and park usage cannot be controlled. Portions of the current fencing are missing or badly damaged. No security cameras operate so police can tackle abuses. The Clark Lake Parks Commission asked why purchasing playground equipment trumped ensuring the safety of those who use the Park?
At the Jackson County Board of Commissioners General Government meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the County Parks Department presented its plan for playground equipment. In this video, you will see the Chair question Kyle Lewis of the County Parks Department about these issues. The Chair of this committee is Commissioner Phil Duckham, whose district includes Clark Lake.
To read more about the Commission, please click here.