Village trustees are doubling down on efforts to combat loitering along the multi-use path retaining wall after an unknown vandal ripped up some rose bushes planted there to prevent such behavior.
“We’re not going to back away from it,” village president George Tyler said during the trustees’ Nov. 13 meeting.
The declaration followed a report from Grove St. resident Joe Kudrle, who told trustees that about a third of the 30 bushes planted to prevent sitting along the wall were uprooted within weeks of their appearance.
The deflowering marks the latest development in an ongoing, frustrating saga for Kudrle, who has shared stories of unsavory activity along the path – located directly behind his house – ranging from littering and vandalism to loud arguments that have woken him up at night.
The village has tried to deter the behavior. Staff installed two garbage cans on the path, and police pledged to patrol the area when possible.
The bushes rounded out the three-pronged approach, with staff hoping the thorny deterrent would encourage loiterers to congregate elsewhere. But frequenters of the stone partition appear unpersuaded, and Kudrle’s problems remain.
A day before the meeting, he found a pile of vomit beside a heap of beer cans, and within the last week, Kudrle said he and his wife got into an argument with someone hanging out on the wall. He reported the incident to police.
“I hope the village and the board knows how problematic this is,” Kudrle said. “Somebody will eventually get hurt back there. I don’t think it’s a safe place.”
Trustees shared his urgency. Lori Houghton wondered if the village could install a camera or additional lights, though she acknowledged the problem isn’t just at night. She said she often walks down the path and turns around if she sees someone sitting along the wall.
Tyler thought the rose bushes were a great idea, but “clearly some folks are determined to have their way,” he said. He encouraged staff to consider some forms of physical barriers that could prevent sitting on the wall once and for all.
Trustee Dan Kerin agreed, though he suggested the village will have some time to find a permanent solution: Apparently seeking a silver lining in the inevitable wave of frigid weather in the next several months, he doubted people will be hanging along the wall come sub-zero temperatures.
“Unless they’ve got a little stove there to keep them warm,” he quipped.
“Don’t put it past them,” Tyler said.