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Park committee gets update on efforts to deter vandals

MURRAY – In a brief special called meeting Tuesday, the City of Murray Parks and Recreation Committee heard an update on several projects going on in the city park system, including how administrators plan to use technology to reduce vandalism of park facilities.

Murray-Calloway County Parks (MCCP) Director Mike Sykes told committee members that cameras are continuing to be installed throughout the park. Most recently, two were installed at the main office.

“I’m not going to be able to see everything,” he said, “but I want to make sure that I can see the places where we do have issues.”

In an interview, Sykes explained that most of the vandalism occurs in the bathrooms, and his goal is to have cameras outside of every one.

“Obviously, I can’t put a camera in the bathroom,” he said, “but having the cameras on the outside, timed with when things are (more likely to be) vandalized helps us with our insurance and everything else.”

At the meeting, Sykes said that he is looking into a system that automatically closes the bathroom doors. The system would also allow him to lock the doors remotely at the end of the day.

“They’re not that costly,” he said. “Vandalism is going to cost us more money in the long run.”

Sykes told the Sentinel he is hopeful that the door modifications will solve a lot of the problems, particularly with the bathrooms at the MCCP office, which are currently open at all times and frequently vandalized.

“I would put those closers and the locks on them,” he said, “but if you look at the doors, you can see where they’ve been kicked in. So, I can at least have them on camera when they’re kicking the door in.”

With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, Sykes informed the committee that the process of getting the pools ready for opening day was underway.

At the time of the meeting, leaf and debris removal was complete, and staff were waiting on the water to be turned on to begin pressure washing the pools. Sykes explained that when the water is shut off for the winter all of the toilets are disconnected, and plumbers have to reconnect the toilets before the water can be turned on.

According to a post on the MCCP’s Facebook page yesterday evening, the water is on, and the cleaning process has begun.

The pool officially opens for the 2024 season on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m.

“The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend is what we shoot for,” Sykes told the Sentinel. “I’ve not missed that date, so knock on wood…”

Pool passes are now on sale for $50. The price goes up to $60 on June 1 and drops to $35 after the Fourth of July.

Passes can be purchased at the MCCP office, 900 Payne Street, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or online at If purchasing passes online, it is necessary to create an account and login first.

In other business, committee member Monty McCuiston presented a request for a pay raise for two maintenance staff. Sykes advised the $2 increase was necessary to bring the pay rate for those positions in line with fair market values.

McCuiston reminded the committee that the budget includes a position that was eliminated, so the necessary funds can be reallocated from that line. The committee approved the request, with the raises going into effect immediately.

City Administrator Jim Osborne advised of a request from the local Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity chapter to use the dog park for a charity event on Monday, April 29, which the committee approved.

All actions were approved unanimously; however, committee members Jeremy Bell and Linda Cherry were not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

McCuiston reported receiving an email from Jane Shirley, advising that the charity triathlon she discussed with the committee at the beginning of the year, the proceeds from which would go to MCCP, was cancelled due to circumstances preventing the county from closing all of the county roads along the route.

He said he wanted to pass along her “praise and appreciation for the parks and recreation board for their cooperation for the proposed triathlon as well as the mayor and the City of Murray.”

“We appreciate her effort,” McCuiston added. “Sorry it didn’t work out for us.”

Before adjourning, committee member Grant Rudolph asked for an update on the demolition of the batting cages in Central Park. Osborne advised that once the items to be surplussed are removed, the cages are ready to be demolished. Sykes said that he will provide a list of items for surplus so that process can get started.

The next parks committee meeting will be at noon on Tuesday, May 24, at City Hall.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.


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