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Fox 41 WDRB is reporting that the closing of Otter Creek Park has led to vandalism inside the Park, with local authorities unsure of how to respond:
Earlier this month, the City of Louisville closed Otter Creek Park because of budget cuts.
When the park closed, the city said it worked out a deal with local law enforcement to patrol the park and provide security.
Officials in Meade County say that’s not entirely true. In fact, the sheriff says the park is virtually unprotected.
A sign at Otter Creek Park’s entrance says it all, “park closed, no trespassing.” The park has been closed since early January because of the city’s budget cuts that grew out of a $20 million shortfall.
A gate now blocks anyone from entering Otter Creek Park, but the city says a few unwelcome guests have trespassed. There have been a few reports of vandalism. There is one state Fish and Wildlife officer left to patrol more than 2,000 acres. The Meade County Sheriff says he’s not patrolling it.
“Absolutely not. My office has not been contacted at all about any increased patrol, asking for increased patrol for Otter Creek Park,” said Butch Kerrick, Meade Co. Sheriff.
Vandals have caused damage to the splash park and broken windows. Kerrick says he doesn’t have the funds to pay his deputies to patrol the park’s 2,600 acres.
The other nearby cities aren’t patrolling it either. Kerrick says the park is virtually unprotected.
“Per se, I doubt if anybody is watching it. It’s locked it’s got gates. It’s got big bar gates. We have no keys to them,” said Kerrick.
Kerrick says one of his deputies was called Sunday to remove a stolen four-wheeler but had to contact a local constable to gain access.
“That’s a concern that this may be a drop off area for stolen four-wheelers or anything else. If they can get four-wheelers or dirt bikes, next thing they’ll be taken vehicles in there, stripping them, burning them, whatever,” said Kerrick.
A Metro Parks spokesman says the city worked out a deal with the Brandenburg Police Department to provide security. But Brandenburg’s mayor says he was unaware of that arrangement.
Begging the question, who is responsible for a closed park?
“I would think it would fall back on the City of Louisville. I don’t see where the citizens of Meade County should have to pay or be responsible for what the City of Louisville got themselves into. It’s not our responsibility,” said Kerrick.
A Metro Parks spokesman says the city cannot afford to re-open the park at this time. The spokesman said the city has an arrangement with “some” law enforcement in Meade County.
If that’s the case, both the mayors of Brandenburg, Muldraugh and the Sheriff of Meade County seem to be unaware of it.
Apparently Louisville Metro has no arrangement for law enforcement within the Park by nearby agencies, despite claiming so. One wonders how much damage has been done, and whether said damage will be expensive to remedy if and when the Park ever reopens.
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