EDITORIAL: Keeping an eye on Doolittle Park

Surveillance cameras are everywhere these days. You probably have one in your pocket, or on the desk next to your keyboard. Smartphones have a way of keeping track of activity. But there are times when a more official type of camera is needed to keep an eye on things, dedicated to around the clock viewing of a specific area that needs watching.

And that brings us to Doolittle Park, in Wallingford. If there was a place that needs watching, Doolittle Park is probably it, because it’s been the focal point of activity municipalities would just as soon not have to deal with. It was a place where a playscape was destroyed by fire, in October. Two teenagerrs are suspected of setting the fire, according to Record-Journal reporting, and the playscape was a complete loss, with a replacement estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $65,000. It’s also always nice to have insurance for such unfortunate incidents, and the park will also benefit from $20,000 donated for improvements by Choate Rosemary Hall.

In a recent story, Town Councilor Sam Carmody did pretty well in summing up the concerns, calling the installation of cameras “an unfortunate necessity.”

“I wish we could preserve people’s privacy by not having the area monitored in this manner, but there have just been too many dangerous and negative activities that have occured at the park,” he said. “I hope the cameras will help deter such activities in the future.”

It’s certainly worth hoping that knowing cameras are there will help keep troublemakers away. Wallingford parks in general have come under scrutiny in recent months, with members of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission resigning in frustration over the situation. Town Councilors Christina Tatta and Joseph Marrone also took a tour of the parks, and presented a slide show to the council covering what was considered the worst conditions. 

The condition of the parks ought at this point to be a high priority. There’s federal money available from the American Rescue Plan Act, but a lot of interests in town are vying for a piece of that pie.

As for the Doolittle Park cameras, there have been delays, but project bids are now due by Feb. 8. The three parts of the request, as the Record-Journal reported, are “installation, repair and monitoring services for an alarm system.” It would be nice if cameras weren’t necessary, but keeping an eye on the park should help keep it safe, and that’s a public benefit.



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