Tuesday night, I was on the phone with Park and Rec second-in-command Willis Winters, who happened to be standing near the Lily Pad in Main Street Garden. Mid-sentence, he stopped talking, said, "Excuse me," then said, rather loudly to someone standing near him: "Are you going to pick that up?"
Ah, yes. You wanna talk about problems at Main Street Garden, let's talk about people who let their dogs crap in the park without picking up after 'em. Winters explained: The man who let his dog unload didn't have a bag on him and was walking away when the city official stopped him mid-stride. I could hear the dude's stammer loud and clear over the receiver: "Um ... yeah ... sure." Winters kept an eye on him just to make sure.
Then, last night, Channel 4 ran a piece about how the city's stepping up efforts to enforce poop-scooping in the park and elsewhere by doling out a $144 fine to those who don't pick up or even have a bag on 'em. City Manager Mary Suhm tells Unfair Park this morning that, sure enough, for the next couple of weeks, at least, "We're gonna go keep an eye on it." Code compliance isn't necessarily "stepping up any kind of a program," she says, "but we do that kind of enforcement if we get complaints. We don't have a 'poop patrol,' necessarily, but if a park -- any park -- were to call and say we're having a problem, we'd make a sweep."
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As for that other issue at Main Street Garden, Suhm's on top of that too: "The homeless problem is going to be challenging, and talking to people about it is on my list this morning," she says. "But the question is: We can talk to people who are breaking laws, but how do you do it when they're not?"