Everyone responsible for keeping parks clean

By: 

Lorna Marquardt, Special to the Leader

This column is called “Positively Shawano” and I enjoy telling readers about the exciting things going on in our community. I receive a great deal of feedback from people who appreciate hearing the positives.

Today, however, I need to spend some time pointing out a few concerns and asking for your help. It seems as though there are some who have little respect for public property and for others. They ignore the three R’s: 1. Respect for self. 2. Respect for others. 3. Responsibility for their actions.

The city of Shawano is proud of our parks system. We budget annually to upgrade equipment and to make improvements. We want our residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors and the amenities our city parks have to offer. Unfortunately, littering and vandalism are on the rise.

Smalley Park (Wolf River Beach) is a prime example. Dave Passehl, longtime member of the Shawano Ski Sharks, commented, “We are blessed to live in such a beautiful area, a city on the Wolf. My family and I enjoy being a part of the Ski Sharks, and we are incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to use one of the absolute finest water ski show sites in the state of Wisconsin.

“It makes our team extremely sad when we go to the park three nights a week for practice or ski shows and have to pick up other people’s garbage before we can even get started. This past week was particularly disturbing; we filled up a 55-gallon drum of garbage from under the bleachers and up on the top of the hill where many youth congregate daily.

“This isn’t the Ski Sharks responsibility, nor should it be the city of Shawano’s. Keeping our city clean is everybody’s responsibility. It is disturbing to have such an influx of disrespect and vandalism at the beach. We need to show our visitors that we take pride in our city and its parks.”

There are trash cans in the parks and they are checked regularly.

Shawano Park and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks commented, “The more time our guys spend picking up garbage or fixing things that have been vandalized, the less time they have to work on other projects.”

Several other instances of vandalism include the walkway at Sturgeon Park was spray painted with graffiti; windows at the rec center were broken by rocks being thrown; park restrooms are frequently damaged; and electrical outlets put at Franklin Park for the farmers market were vandalized. Additionally low-hanging branches of trees are often broken off, and picnic tables are repeatedly damaged.

The littering isn’t solely from the youth. Residents have witnessed adult ballplayers and fans throwing beer cans and litter and leaving quite a mess. Fishermen often leave trash along the river’s edge at Sturgeon Park.

One Facebook comment stated, “That’s what the park employees are paid for, they should do their job.”

Others disagreed, saying “Adults should be setting examples for the youth; it’s not the city’s job to clean up behind everyone. Parents should know what their kids are doing, and they should be teaching them to be responsible and respectful of public property.”

Police Chief Mark Kohl said “the fine for littering is $187 for the first offense and $313 for the second offense.”

If you notice someone littering or abusing public property, please contact the Police Department. Cameras are under consideration. Those causing damage need to be caught and held accountable for their actions.

Shawano deserves better!

The answer to last week’s question — Can you name the four motels and three hotels located in the city during 1959? — is Oak Dale Motel, Pine Acre Motel, Shawano Motel, Siesta Villa Motel, Bilmay Hotel, King’s Hotel and Shawano Hotel.

This week’s question is: Who was the administrator of the Shawano Community Hospital in 1972?

Lorna Marquardt is mayor of Shawano.