Mayor says vagrants may be living in park

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

There may be some unwelcomed nightly visitors at the Wardell Leach Recreational Complex, according to Mayor Diane Delaware.

During the recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Delaware shared her findings with the Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Wade Yeates concerning someone perhaps taking residency at the local complex.

“I think I see people in the park doing some interesting things,” Delaware said. “There are people in the park at midnight. There are people maybe actually living in their cars in the park. That is where they go, park and spend the night. I don’t say these things lightly. You know I am an inspector of sorts.”

The recreational complex closes at 9 p.m., and Delaware suggested locking the gates. However, with short staffing, Yeates said such an after-hours activity could be a problem. Currently, the parks and recreation department only has one employee.

“Currently, our staffing does not allow that,” Yeates said.

Alderman Andre Lloyd, former police chief, said a police officer on the night shift had locked the gate in years past. The gate would then be unlocked by that officer when he swapped with the day shift.

“I am asking that all board members visit the park at night under the crepe myrtle trees,” Delaware said. “You might find something interesting, like clothing and all sorts of things. I think it might be a good idea to lock it unless you want people living there.”

“I don’t think we want that to happen,” Yeates added.