Delinquents beware — more than the birds will soon be watching over Feura Bush Park.
On Wednesday, May 7, the New Scotland Town Board unanimously approved contracting with Keeplock Security Services Inc. for nearly $3,250 to install three video cameras, with a wireless network for the surveillance system, at Feura Bush Park. Town officials decided to install cameras at the park following vandalism and other damage at the park.
Town Board member Douglas LaGrange said there have been “numerous issues” at the secluded park, which is “not manned all the time.” He said this has lead to it being damaged in various ways.
“Things happen there, different types of vandalism and so on, whether it be four-wheelers running through the fields or damage to some of the buildings and bathrooms,” LaGrange said.
Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said people driving four-wheelers and two-wheelers did “a lot of damage” around a month ago, so the town accelerated the process to install the system.
Dolin said the damage was the worst the town has had at its fields in the park.
“It is going to take a lot to fix it,” he said.
Dolin said installing cameras was something the town “obviously should have done earlier.” After the fields are repaired, he said at least anyone who damages them will likely be caught, or hopefully discouraged from such activity.
“You hope that it is not going to continue to happen, but it has just gotten worse,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said other vandalism has occurred over the years, such as damage to the bathroom and basketball court. He said the town was already looking into installing a security system at Town Hall, so when the most recent incident happened at the park board members asked Public Works Commissioner Wayne LaChappelle to seek proposals.
Town officials obtained two proposals for a surveillance system at the park. Virtual Surveillance was the second company and it submitted a more expensive proposal totaling around $7,450. Virtual Surveillance’s proposal appeared to be a more advanced monitoring system, which included additional hardware.
LaGrange said Keeplock’s proposal “satisfied” how town officials sought to better monitor and deter vandalism. He said cameras would help discourage vandalism before it happens.
“Secondarily, it will help with the prosecution of said vandals,” LaGrange said.
At night, the park is “modestly” lit, he said, but the cameras function in “extremely low light.” Dolin said the cameras chosen were upgraded specifically to address the low lighting.
Dolin said Parks and Recreation Department employees would “probably” be who would monitor the system.
“We got to implement to find out what we are going to do, how we are going to handle it,” Dolin said. “I’d like to start … a little test project here and see how it works.”
As proposed, two wireless outdoor bullet cameras would be installed on top of a light pole, and one dome camera would be installed under the pavilion. The wireless cameras would be less expensive compared to running wiring up the poles, according to Keeplock. The town will also be providing a lift to access the poles to reduce installation costs.
Dolin said other parks within town don’t appear to need cameras installed yet, because most are better lit, more often used, or more easily seen by surrounding residents.