Minnehaha County commissioners last week approved the construction of a fence that would separate an employee parking lot from Van Eps Park. After speaking with Mayor Mike Huether, county commissioner Jeff Barth says that instead of going with the original plan of a chain-link fence, a more permanent barrier will be built by the City.
"I think the idea is to have a better-looking fence than what we planned, but it will be helpful. It won't solve the problems, but our employees are already feeling better even with the temporary snow fence being there," commissioner Jeff Barth said.
The fence was put in place to keep people from passing through the lot on their way to and from the park.
"It may be that there will be additional fencing put in on the county side, but at this point we're making progress and that's all we can ask for," Barth said.
Barth says that recent attention to places like Van Eps and Tower parks is shedding light to a major issue for the city, something that cannot simply be addressed by banning alcohol at the parks. He says it's a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem.
"If we shut it down here, which park do you want them to be in? Is it Drake Springs? Is it Spellerberg? Is it Yankton Trails?" Barth said.
The source of the issue, Barth says, revolves around the way people are addressing mental health and those who may suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. He says there isn't a fence keeping people from addressing the bigger picture.
"This is what goes on every day, and we can move it around, but until we try to do a better job of taking care of our brothers and sisters, I think we're stuck with this in some location somewhere in our city," Barth said.