Grandfather concerned about conditions at city park’s splash pad

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A grandfather contacted FOX59 about the conditions at a city-owned park's splash pad.

Derek Lawrence visited Wes Montgomery Park on the northeast side for his grandson's first birthday party. As soon as he arrived, though, he told FOX59 he noticed problems.

"Instantly I was upset," Lawrence said. "The first thing I noticed was the grates around the water park area."

Courtesy: Derek Lawrence

Lawrence said many of the grates had been pulled out of the drains, leaving large holes exposed.

"I’m thinking a little kid could run across there, trip and hurt themselves. Even a grown adult (too)," Lawrence said.

He said there were also goose droppings all over a portion of the splash pad, and not too long into the party, someone came and locked the bathroom doors.

FOX59 visited the park two weeks after the party, and found conditions had not changed.

Lawrence emailed Indy Parks, and a manager responded, saying the geese were out of the city's control, the bathrooms were most likely locked because of clogged toilets or poor conditions, and the grates were frequently vandalized.

"Unfortunately, mischievous youth find it fun to pull the grates toss them around the park," the manager said. "We've tried zip tying the grates, but that doesn't seem to help."

Cleveland McBeath, a contractor who cleans the bathrooms for the city, told FOX59 that vandalism in the park is rampant.

"People have a tendency to neglect this park," McBeath said.

McBeath, as well as a city spokesperson, said that without the community's help, it is hard to keep the park in good condition at all times.

"We need to start looking at this park as our community. It belongs to us, so we’re going to take care of this park," McBeath said.

Lawrence said none of the kids at his party were hurt, but he's concerned about the kids who will play on the splash pad next. He said his family does not plan to host another party at the park unless it is cleaned up.

"If they cleaned it up and tried to do at least a better job, I would go back," Lawrence said.

A spokesperson for Indy Parks sent this statement to FOX59:

"Indy Parks remains committed to providing the best experiences in our parks and park spaces. Through our My City My Park initiative we encourage residents and businesses to partner with us, adopt a park, and donate their time and resources. Something as small as placing trash in the designated containers makes a big difference in our parks and your neighborhoods."