FOX47 NEWS - Residents Outraged Over Park's Decline

Jeff Angileri
Jul 21, 2008, 9:33 PM

People who frequent Madison's Eastmoreland Park say the greenspace has seen better days.

Plastic bottles and empty booze containers litter the ground. A trail of cigarette butts leads to garbage cans wreaking of beer. Shattered glass reflects sunlight off the basketball court.

And then there are the unwelcome guests.

You see people who are homeless or have nothing else to do, sitting and drinking alcohol when kids want to play in the park, says Kathy Soukup, Eastmoreland Community Association President.

Neighbor Larry Plewke, says, You've got that kind of element, you're not going to let your children play in a park where people are drinking and sleeping overnight in the pavilion.

Garbage control is another problem. Residents say cans fill up fast, and are not emptied fast enough.

The stink was so bad, that we couldn't open our front doors, says Plewke. I looked, and there were six inches of maggots on the bottom of that can.

Add to that, a flooded culvert that cuts through Eastmoreland park, and is lined with 5-feet-tall prairie wildflowers. Some people want them mowed.

Neighbor Joanne Johnson says, I don't let my grandchildren go over there and play. I'm not sure what could be in there...a lot of mosquitoes, animals and rodents over there.

Community members say they're working with law enforcement and legislators to take back their neighborhood park, even if it means opening their wallets.

Says Soukup, We're working hard to upgrade this park, and a lot of the funding has come from neighbors and then matched by the parks.

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