Mixville Recreation Area is popular amongst residents in large part because it offers a little something for everyone.
With a pond for the summer, a hill for sledding in the winter, and plenty of room to enjoy all variety of sports and activities, the park is truly geared towards everyone in the family. It’s why Mixville is often called a “gem” by its biggest fans.
That’s why it is so disconcerting to learn, as we did in the last few weeks, that a variety of issues have continued to arise in the area and we hope that town officials do what’s necessary to address concerns. The park won’t stay a gem for much longer if problems serve to discourage people from frequenting the area.
At a recent meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, several issues were revealed: Loud music disturbing neighbors, vandalism, and even drug use. Parks and Recreation Director John Gawlak admitted that he is aware of these problems and others, but suggested that the solutions will have to be found at the Town Council level.
After all, some of these issues stem from a lack of oversight at the property, and the only way to address that is to hire more people to stand ready to address problems that arise.
It’s not just the number of guards who may be stationed at Mixville. As resident Gary Augliera astutely pointed out, if the solution is to hire more teenage guards to patrol the area, it may not prove much of a solution. After all, it is a lot to expect that young men and women will police what others their age may be doing, and even less likely that they’d feel comfortable approaching a larger gathering of older individuals potentially acting out-of-bounds.
Obviously, the answer is not to hire some well-armed unit of trained professionals. This is a recreation area, after all, not a war zone. And as worrisome as the complaints may be, they don’t rise to the level of necessitating any kind of strict enforcement presence. There should be a happy middle between armed guards and part-time teens.
Whatever that solution, the first step is in admitting that there is a problem and it must be addressed. That appears to have occurred at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, and now the issue must be brought up with the Council. It’s understandable that local officials will look to make cuts where they can in order to keep the mill rate low and tax burden as minimal as possible. But issues, such as the ones discussed regarding Mixville, don’t usually improve on their own as time goes by. Problems with vandalism and uncivil behavior must be addressed or they usually get worse by attracting the wrong kind of crowd.
Mixville remains one of the best places to go during the summer, especially during a season like this when the heat becomes oppressive and people want to get out of the house. If you don’t have a pool and prefer a dip in nature anyway, Mixville should be your home away from home.
That’s why we hope, whatever problems are happening at the park, officials will work quickly to make them a thing of the past. It shouldn’t take much of an investment, either in time or money, to do the little things to discourage the behaviors that are leading to many of these issues. And what better time is there to nip everything in the bud than now, during a very hot 2021 summer.