Bloomington expands private security to 7 more parks across city, including B-Line Trail

Private unarmed security patrols will now be checking a total of eight parks in Bloomington, a collection that extends a bit farther, north-to-south, than the extent of the B-Line Trail.

The $52,500 contract addendum with Marshall Security, to cover the additional parks, was approved by Bloomington’s board of park commissioners at its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

That brings the total amount of the contract with Marshall to $113,000. The money is being drawn from CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds.

At their June meeting, park commissioners approved the initial $60,588 contract, which included just Switchyard Park, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day of the week. The reason given for the Switchyard Park security was an increase in after-hours vandalism and substance use, and overnight camping.

For the additional parks and the trail, the additional private security is needed because of “a number of incidents that have occurred lately on both the B-Line trail and in several other…core corridor parks around the downtown area,” according to Tim Street, who’s operations and development division director for Bloomington parks and recreation.

The list of parks to be patrolled by Marshall is now: Switchyard Park, RCA Park, Seminary Park, B-Line Trail, Building Trades Park, Rev Ernest D. Butler Park, Crestmont Park, Miller-Showers Park, and Waldron Hill Buskirk Park. Continue reading “Bloomington expands private security to 7 more parks across city, including B-Line Trail”

Bloomington’s Switchyard Park to get night patrols by private security firm

Two-person unarmed teams from Marshall Security will now be performing patrols in Bloomington’s 65-acre Switchyard Park from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day of the week.

A contract with the private security firm was approved by Bloomington’s board of park commissioners at its regular Wednesday meeting.

The hourly rate per security officer is $16.50. The initial contract calls for a $60,588 limit on invoiced expenses from Marshall.

Switchyard Park general manager Hsiung Marler told the four-member board of park commissioners that the security officers from Marshall would be wearing body cameras. They’ll be driving small vehicles suitable for travel on the B-Line Trail and the paths inside the park.

There are some spots inside the park where the Marshall employees will need to get out of the vehicle to make their required rounds, Marler said.

According to parks and recreation staff, the reasons for putting an increased security presence in the park include an increase in after-hours vandalism and substance use, and overnight camping.

Also part of the mix, according to Bloomington’s director of parks and recreation, Paula McDevitt, is the fact that this year is the new park’s first season of full operations. Last year would have counted a partial year anyway, even without the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issues with increased vandalism “bubbled to the top pretty quickly,” according to McDevitt. Continue reading “Bloomington’s Switchyard Park to get night patrols by private security firm”

Press Release: 125 downtown parking meters vandalized, causing $5,000 worth of damage

In a press release issued around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, Bloomington’s police department provided some details on the vandalism to parking meters in the downtown area, which was discovered in the morning and widely documented on social media outlets.

cropped smaller 10-23-2019 parkingIMG_7844
The head from a vandalized meter had been removed from its post by parking services staff on Wednesday morning. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The vandals spray-painted parking meter heads green and pink and injected meter slots  with expanding foam.

The press release puts the number of meters that were vandalized at 125—the area of damaged meters included more than just some around the courthouse square.

Damage is estimated at $5,000. It’s still possible to park at spots with damaged meter using the ParkMobile phone app, according to the BPD release. [Update: After the initial press release was sent out, a followup was sent, clarifying that people who park at damaged meters will not be ticketed if they do not use the ParkMobile phone app.]

According to the release, replacement parts are being overnighted to Bloomington, so that repairs can be made as soon as possible.

The release says that investigators are now reviewing footage from video cameras at downtown businesses to try to identify the vandals.

The release says that any with information about the parking meter vandalism should contact Detective Jon Muscato at (812) 349-3326.