Incidents at Heckart Center Dealt With Swiftly
New rules were established for youth visiting the new Heckart Community Center after a few incidents occurred since the opening one month ago.
On April 6, Sedalia Police responded to the Community Center, 1800 West 3rd Street, for a fight in the parking lot. Officers spoke to several adults and juveniles who were involved in the disturbance. Three adults, ranging in age from 39 to 47, were issued Sedalia Municipal Court Summonses for Peace Disturbance. All three adults also received a one-year trespass warning from all city park properties. Three juvenile referrals were forwarded to the Juvenile Office as well.
And a report of a missing wallet was taken at the HCC April 6.
“With anything new, there's going to be a few hiccups. So we knew that was going to happen. The problem was just so many teeny boppers and teens coming, 13 to 15 years of age, it was their first freedom after a long winter inside. And there are no parents or guardians here. So we decided to make some rules and adjustments and we made a contract,” Sedalia Parks & Rec Executive Director Amy Epple said.
The contract is to be read and signed by kids and parents alike, Epple noted.
“So coming here they have a safe environment, we know what they're doing. They just have to follow our rules and guidelines. So 98 percent have been great. Just that two percent where we had to enforce the rules,” Epple said after a 15-minute Park Board meeting Thursday night at the HCC, adding that there are about 24 rules.
“They need to know what the rules are, we kept them short, sweet and simple. We know what we want them to do, and we want to provide this nice facility, but they have to take care it, it's their facility, too,” Epple said.
She added that her staff is trained in the three “E”s … Educate them on the rules, Encourage them to change their behavior, and Enforce the rules.
“That's how we run,” she said.
Breaking the rules may mean doing community service work within the Heckart, such as cleaning windows for an hour.
Suspension times range from seven days to 30 days to a year.
The adults that were fighting in the parking lot a week earlier were kicked out of the Heckart for a year, Epple said.
Beyond the Heckart, the Park Board will let a bid for design of a new playground at Liberty Park in June or July.
More parking is coming to Liberty Park Boulevard after cleanup is done in that area by Paric Construction.
Epple has compiled a list of 41 items that need to be addressed by Paric, based out of Kansas City.
“Items they need to finish and complete. But you know what? We paid a lot of money for this and we're not asking more from them, we're just asking them to finish up, and that's part of construction – they know that,” Epple told KSIS.
The Park Board approved a 5.7 percent Cost Of Living Adjustment across the board for all park employees.
Park Board member Roy Pointer said during the meeting that it is always a struggle to hire enough seasonal help.
Epple said that is normal for this time of year, and that several college students will return by the end of April and early May, adding that many of them are previous seasonal employees of the Sedalia Parks system.
The Park Board then went into closed session to discuss Real Estate matters.
May 12 is the next scheduled date for the Sedalia Park Board to meet. The public is invited.