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After-Hours Park Use Questioned in Wilton

WILTON, Conn. — Wilton residents are more likely to spend time outdoors as the summer season gets under way. But some are concerned that Wilton’s parks are being used improperly.

During a Police Commission meeting last week, Chairman Chris Weldon said he had recently visited Merwin Meadows and had seen people using the park after hours.

But what happens after hours cannot be regulated by the Parks and Recreation Department, said director Steve Pierce. “If it’s after hours, then I don’t have people there,” and he couldn’t comment on how the park was being used.

The parks officially opened to the public over Memorial Day weekend, and Pierce said he staffs Merwin Meadows only from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends until school lets out. Full-time staff is there for the summer until mid-August.

But, “if it’s nice weather, it’s going to attract people,” Pierce said.

According to Weldon, after-hours park use has been a concern in the past, and Police Chief Michael Lombardo said patrol units do sweeps of the area during their shifts. This happens especially after concerns last year about loud music and alcohol, he said.

“I’m just concerned it’s going to keep on getting worse,” Weldon said. He said he was surprised the parties were happening so early. “If you go there between 7 to 8 p.m. it is packed with non-residents.”

One issue is that Wilton Police have no local ordinances that give them jurisdiction over the parks and their use. The officers on patrol can only step in if they see something “that’s out of order,” Lombardo said.

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