Over half a dozen residents spoke out at the Northampton Borough Council meeting on Thursday, July 15, frustrated over litter, loud music and crowds at the borough’s Canal Park.
“Enough is enough,” said one resident. He mentioned illegally parked vehicles, drag racing, loud music, leftover trash, and even public urination.
Joseph Donahue, who lives several blocks away from the park, showed pictures of vehicles on fire and played recordings of music on his cell phone. He said at any given day there may be 300 to 400 people at the park. He urged council to close the park until they can come up with a solution.
“Nobody would want this at their house,” he said.
Other residents echoed Donahue’s sentiments. One woman said she no longer felt safe walking her dog. Other residents mentioned verbal abuse.
“This is a symptom of a larger problem,” said Carol Lockett. “An example should be set by council and people who own property.”
Lockett cited businesses on Main Street covered in weeds and pet waste on the sidewalks.
Solicitor Brian Panella said the council has been exploring solutions, including more garbage cans and 24-hour surveillance. He encouraged residents to form a committee with members of council, the police department, and the parks and recreation department.
But not all members of council agreed with closing the park, as some residents had suggested.
“Close the park…who suffers?” asked Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr.
“I do not want to see officers turned into security,” said Councilwoman Judy Kutzler. She said they should be left to handle domestic incidents, not parking disputes.
“People have a right to be [at the park],” she added. “It is a public park.”
However, Kutzler was in support of residents forming a committee with council, police, and other borough and county departments.
“Own your part,” she said. “It is better to work with borough council than throw rocks at borough council.”
The next council meeting will be held on August 5 at 7:30 p.m.