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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Parks will get added security

 


The Shafter City Council approved $15,000 to have a security company patrol the city’s parks at night. Concerns had been raised recently about the traffic that has been seen in the local parks, especially in the restrooms. There have been reports of illegal activity going on as well as people staying in the restrooms overnight.

Public Works Director Michael James said that the job of locking up the bathrooms at night, which close at 10 p.m., had been bounced about through the city departments, but as James said, no one from the Public Works Department is working at that hour, and the Police Department has higher-priority issues to deal with through their nights.

James said that they opened the project for bids, but the majority of security companies would not come out to Shafter.

One company, SITREP Security Solutions, agreed to patrol the city’s parks and bid $15,000 to do the job. This agreement includes the patrolling of five of the city’s parks, including one of the parks at Gossamer Grove. That patrolling would include not just the closing of the restrooms, but also regular patrolling of the entire park. Parks included in the agreement are Mannel Park, Veterans Park, Rodriguez Park, Stringham Park and the park at Gossamer Grove.

The council also approved a resolution to accept a bid from Midstate Barrier, Inc. to install a guardrail down the median of Lerdo Highway. Due to tragic accidents that have occurred on the stretch of Lerdo Highway from Shafter to Highway 99, the city deemed the guardrail necessary. The project is estimated at a little over $700,000, which is covered by a $1 million grant received for the project.

One issue that drew public comment was a public hearing heldabout a proposed project that would include burying public utilities along South Shafter Avenue. The project would relocate electric lines on poles underground. According to James, this would help eliminate power outages when a power pole is hit, and it would be safer for residents.

One resident was concerned about the costs to homeowners for digging trenches on their properties. James said that he wouldn’t imagine the cost would be more than a couple thousand dollars, but that was just an estimate. The resident, Fred Thomas, said that he did not believe the property owners should have to foot any of the bill for the project.

“We don’t get any benefit from the project, other than there not being any poles sticking out of the ground,” he said. “ I don’t think that should be our responsibility.”

The council agreed and approved PG&E to start the planning process for the project with the condition that they will visit the issue of the financial responsibility for the trenches, agreeing with the residents that they should not shoulder that cost. The possibility of shortening the scope of the project to cut the cost would be considered.

 

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