Much of the nearly two-hour Frankford Town Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, was devoted to residents and council members venting about areas of town that are in dire need of a clean-up.
Council Member Skip Ash spent a hefty portion of the meeting filling in the other council members on ditches in town that have become so clogged with debris that water will no longer flow through them, which causes flooding and other hazards.
Reed Street resident Dennis Smith questioned the council about whether Reed Street was receiving the same attention to keeping the public areas clean as the rest of the town.
In addition, town maintenance supervisor Jamie Reed informed the council that he has found numerous syringes, with needles attached, in the parking lot of Frankford Town Park. That’s not all, Reed said.
“Somebody defecated in the middle of a parking space,” he said.
Reed said that, many times, at night he sees “five or six cars parked, all of them standing outside the cars, ‘BS-ing’ with each other.”
“I don’t know what we can do about that,” Reed said.
He did suggest the Town improve the lighting in the parking lot. He said he did not think fencing off the parking lot would be a viable solution, as it would create problems during programs in the park, and would require that someone close and lock the fence each night.
Council Vice President Greg Welch suggested the Town “get a sign up, at least,” prohibiting loitering in the parking lot, but he said what is really needed is surveillance cameras. Welch said cameras should be installed near the restrooms at the park, as well as in the parking lot.
“You have a dark area. It’s an invitation,” resident Wesley Hayes Jr. said. “Everybody knows the town doesn’t have a police officer,” he added.
Welch said cameras are a way to “put eyes on things,” but that the Town also needs to figure out “how to utilize the data” from the cameras — particularly in light of the lack of a town police department.
After in recent years having had its own police department with two or three officers, Frankford currently contracts with the Delaware State Police for 12 hours of patrol per week.
Reed Street resident Jerry Smith peppered the town council with questions about maintenance on Reed Street.
“Even before any of you guys got on council,” Smith said, “there’s always been a problem doing maintenance on Reed Street.”
Smith said he was not referring to cleaning up private property, but was referring to the public areas on the street.
“I don’t know what you want from us,” Council President Joanne Bacon said.
When Council Member Pam Davis said that the use of prisoner labor, which the Town often employs for clean-up projects, was not allowed on Reed Street, Smith replied, “You made that up.”
Davis did not specify why prison labor had not been allowed on the street.
“Are you guys going to do anything about the situation on Reed Street?” Smith asked again.
Town Secretary-Treasurer Velicia Melson said, “There needs to be a community-wide effort, and residents need to take ownership,” to which Smith responded, “I haven’t said anything about people’s private property.”
Bacon announced that there will be no town council election this year, as no one except the incumbents had filed by the Jan. 4 deadline to run for seats the seats occupied by Bacon and Welch. Bacon and Welch will serve new two-year terms.
By Kerin Magill