Loitering, drinking becoming a problem at Middletown park - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Loitering, drinking becoming a problem at Middletown park

Spear Park Spear Park

City officials said a park in Middletown has been plagued by people who are loitering and drinking.

Middletown officials said they have been trying to clean up Spear Park for years, but businesses said something needs to be done.

Spear Park features several shaded areas and a number of picnic tables to allow people to relax and unwind.

However, lately people have been noticing broken glass, beer caps, and bottles of vodka tossed in the trash.

"It needs to be kept clean and it needs to be an inviting spot for everyone, families included," said Mary Xenelis, who runs the Middlesex Fruitery, which is just a few doors down from the park.

Spear Park is run by the Middletown Housing Authority. Executive Director William A. Vasiliou said the park is open to the public, so if you're not breaking any laws, anyone can stay there.

However, the problem is people are hanging out there all day and some are drinking, which is clearly not allowed.

"Everything that helps make a community, makes it more attractive, brings people downtown and also makes people feel comfortable being downtown," Xenelis said. "It's important for us and everyone on the street."

Three years ago, the city tore down the walls surrounding the park in an effort to open it up. It also got rid of the secluded area in the back.

"There are several people who hang out in the park on a regular basis. Some of them do consume alcoholic beverages. We have increased our patrols in the area in addition to responding to calls when citizens report specific incidents," Middletown police said in a statement to Eyewitness News. 

Business owners said this is actually a two part problem. It's not just cleaning up the park, but more importantly taking care of the people, who are gathering there, especially the ones who might not have any other place to go.

"The best thing to do in the long run, if the problem is folks hanging around, there is having people who can help those folks and steer them in the right direction and get them the care and help they need," Xenelis said.

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