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Town to address ongoing loitering problem at Thurmont Park

Tare E. Buck
Frederick News Post

An ongoing loitering problem at Thurmont Park could be fixed as easily as putting a chain across its entrance at dusk, Mayor Martin Burns said this week, but he also fears that those who use the park after dusk may be unnecessarily turned away.

For the second week in a row one resident came to the town council meeting to decry loitering at the community park.

She said teenagers and others flood the parking lot at night, squealing their wheels when they finally do leave and making a general ruckus that leaves her awake most nights.

"Show some presence there," Cathy Miller, who lives near the park, requested of Thurmont Police Chief Terry Frushour.

Chief Frushour said there have been similar problems at the park in the past.

"A loitering law would be hard to enforce," he told the townís leaders when asked if a new and improved loitering ordinance would fix the problem.

"If younger people are just sitting there talking, you canít just ask them to leave so older people can come in and do the same thing," the chief said. "How do you tell one group they can be there and another group they canít? ... Whatís a park for? That has to be defined."

Mr. Burns suggested that two posts be put up at the parkís entrance to enable a chain to be strung across at dusk when the park closes. He said the chain may deter those who use the parking lot for purposes other than actually using the park.

Thurmont police Sgt. Shawn Tyler said the chain "would curb a lot of it."

"Their big thing is to watch traffic," Sgt. Tyler said of those who hang out at the park most nights. "They watch the cars go by."

He said if a chain was added to the parkís front entrance, the parkers would likely skip the back entrance since their main goal is to watch the townís heavily traveled Frederick Road.

"Itís cheap and, if that doesnít work, we can try something else later," Mr. Burns said of his solution. "I think the least restrictive thing should be first."

In other business, Thurmontís council learned that Guardian Hose Co. must purchase signs from the State Highway Administration in order to properly block Md. 17 and Md. 77 and create detours in the event of parades. The signs, about $150 each, are mandated by the state. Guardian expects to need 13 of them, which adds up to at least $1,950.

Because the town is likely to need the signs, too, members of Guardian asked if the town is willing to split the cost.

Town leaders made their plea over the public access airwaves for generous donors to perhaps pick up some costs or sponsor signs. The town council will discuss the signs again if donations arenít made and come up with another solution.

On Monday the town will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed water and sewer fees. On Tuesday the town will hold its regular weekly meeting.
 

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