SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — There are plans to put armed security guards at a popular park in Monroe County.
The Smithfield Township supervisors say overcrowding, illegal swimming, and illegal parking have gotten out of control during weekends at Minisink Park.
So now, security measures are being taken.
With the exception of an evening practice for a peewee football team, Minisink Park is fairly empty in Smithfield Township near Delaware Water Gap.
But on the weekend, that’s sure to change.
Township Supervisor Brian Barrett says hundreds of people flock to the park, most of them from out of town.
“It’s unbelievable, that’s when the tour buses come, with 40, 50 people get off a bus, with their coolers and everything else,” said Barrett.
Over the past few years, he says the problems with overcrowding have gotten to a breaking point with people illegally swimming, drinking alcohol and parking on River Road.
“They’re parking on the side of the road so vans are coming by, you can’t get through, you just can’t get through, they have no respect for anyone,” said Lisa Kropp who runs Renegade Winery just down the road from Minisink Park.
So, the township supervisors plan to hire two security guards who will work 8-hour shifts on weekends for $32 an hour.
And they will be armed as is the security firm’s policy.
“The armed is kind of their protocol. We didn’t ask for it necessarily to be armed,” said Barrett. “All we need are uniformed people that have an aura of authenticity.”
According to Barrett, having security here at the park is not a permanent solution. They just want to try it out to see if it makes a difference.
“We’re not looking for any confrontation, we’ve coordinated with the Pennsylvania State Police, as I’ve said they have a presence every weekend here too,” said Barrett.
People welcome the idea, saying the crowds leave tons of garbage in the park as well.
“They trash the place, people do trash it, so I understand what the supervisors are up to,” said Don Kintner.
The township supervisor says if the board decides to make security at the park permanent, the job would be in the summer only.