North Idaho

Coeur d'Alene to address McEuen vandalism problem

Coeur d'Alene to address McEuen vandalism problem

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - McEuen Park is a popular spot to hang out, but lately it's been getting a lot of vandalism, specifically in the parking garage, and now Coeur d'Alene is looking at ways to address the problem.

City staff say they're seeing a lot of vandalism at the parking garage from large groups of people just hanging out, so they've drafted an ordinance that would give police the ability to ticket people who loiter.

According to the city there have been more than 100 police calls for service in that area since opening in March, many of them for disruptive behavior within the parking structure like car break-ins, graffiti and drag racing.

"We're kind of dealing with the aftermath, if there's a mess made or vandalism," Coeur d'Alene Police Sergeant Christie Wood said.

Police say right now they can only encourage people to leave who aren't using the structure for what it's intended for, but if the ordinance passes they could fine offenders.

Wood said its a good move however she wants to see one major change in the ordinance being proposed.

"We have been in touch with the city attorney today and suggested that we retool their proposal so it really includes all the park system in the city, not just one specific," Wood said.

For example, City Park saw 180 calls for service in the same time period that McEuen Park saw 100 calls, and while some of them were minor calls, others were for things that made park visitors uncomfortable.

"Playing loud music, drinking, you know, smoking, cussing, lots of stuff that I don't want my kids around," Erin Zasada said.

Coeur d'Alene officials say they'll be working with police on the possibility of adding other parks to the ordinance, and there will be a number of drafts before the council puts the ordinance up for a vote.