Edwardsville fire, police chiefs discuss erecting fence behind public safety building

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Now that tours have resumed at Edwardsville’s Leon Corlew Park & ​​Splash Pad this summer, a new issue has arisen: keeping pedestrians safe.

For at least the past month, there have been informal discussions between Fire Chief James Whiteford and Police Chief Michael Fillback about what can be done to keep civilians, especially children, visiting the Splash Pad. out of the nearby area immediately behind the Edwardsville Public Safety Building, which is located on Main Street South.

“We are having problems with [people] car park [in our section] but that’s the least we can do,” Fillback told the city’s public safety committee on Tuesday. “There are more people crossing or when they’re parking, they’re inattentive to kids walking between cars.”


Currently, a grassy divider separates 35 regular and two ADA-accessible spaces intended for the wading pool and park visitors from a double row of parking spaces in which police and firefighters park their personal vehicles, where city ​​park and other police and firefighters. activities occur. The lot is currently signed, asking visitors not to park in these rows, but the message is apparently not seen by all visitors.

He cited an example on Memorial Day weekend of children fleeing the park and playing with water guns there, rushing between parked cars in the area where the turn and exit port is, where they transfer arrested people for treatment or transfer inmates to other destinations, such as the Madison County Jail.

Fillback said an officer saw what happened and tried to resolve the issue with the parents at the time, but the parents did not understand why it was a problem, Fillback told the committee.

“The concern wasn’t for the kids to play there, the concern was for their safety,” Fillback said. “It’s a [parking] a lot, where even though we urge the firefighters and the police to be careful, the fact is that often when we leave, we leave in a hurry. Things can happen quickly.”

Fillback described another recent incident of a woman with two young children cutting between cars and her children becoming separated and she momentarily lost sight of them. At one point, one child was immediately in front of a patrol vehicle while the other was right behind one.

He said a fence would be a good idea to guide people so they don’t walk through the area where employees park. The fence would be made of metal, run along this western divider, and wrap around the southern and northern ends to help guide visitors and residents who wish to walk the shortest distance between two points. Doors may also be a possibility in the future.

“It’s a real safety issue for us because it would be a real disaster for the city as well as our staff if someone hit a child,” Fillback said.

“The parking lot itself is difficult,” Whiteford added. “It’s not even that we drive fast there, but it’s a very tight parking lot.”

Street Superintendent Matt Taul had previously received an offer for the fence, but officials could not recall the number at the meeting.

“I’m also concerned about the issue of security,” Alderman Janet Stack said. “With it being hot and people not being able to get to very many places because of gas prices, it’s only going to make things worse.”

Fillback said another concern they had was that while they try to lock all of their vehicles all the time, it doesn’t always happen. He mentioned the possibility, remote as it is, of a wandering, curious child ending up in the back seat of a patrol cruiser that has been sitting in the parking lot all day and the child has no way of exit as interior is partitioned and rear interior door latches are usually disabled or missing.

Fillback thinks the park parking is adequate, but the thing is that most drivers want to park as close to their destination as possible, in this case the wading pool.

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