Bi-monthly FOOT Meeting held Feb. 13th at 6:30 PM

posted Jan 31, 2012, 2:55 PM by Tom DeChant   [ updated Apr 9, 2012, 11:10 PM ]
The February FOOT meeting was held Monday, February 13 at 6:30pm at Barrique's on Park Street. Five members attended, as well as two guests:  Jim Dexheimer and Shawn Engel, both of the Madison Police Department. Agenda items included:

1.  Jim Dexheimer from the Madison Police Department shared updates on what MPD and Madison Parks Department have accomplished with their efforts in the Park over the last year. Overall, an 80% decrease in unwanted 'cruising' activity has been achieved to date. Specific steps taken to discourage that behavior included:

-- Clearing of underbrush and restoration of natural areas
-- Parking restrictions in the conservancy lot
-- Installation of gates to close off circulation between the two parking lots
-- Holding public events and work parties to provide more activities in the park
-- Obtaining media coverage of park improvements and events
-- Establishment of FOOT

Jim indicated some cruising activity still occurs and encouraged a two-pronged approach to keep activity down, especially in spring and fall months when public use is low.  His two recommendations were:

-- Schedule community events in April and May to provide more 'eyes on the park'
-- Consider support of a new Madison ordinance that specifically targets cruising behavior that is deemed harassing.

FOOT members discussed these recommendations and agreed to proceed with trying to schedule some events for spring.

2.  Ron and Tom shared updates on the FOOT website.  It was agreed to launch it to the general public as soon as an appropriate URL could be obtained. It was also suggested that the launch be publicized in neighborhood list serves and newsletters, and to get the website linked to the Madison Parks Department website and to FOOT's own Facebook page. 
3.  Re-scheduling an evening x-country skiing event was discussed.  Given the unpredictability of snow this season, the thought was to hold an 'impromptu' event near the March full moon - date to be announced.

4.  Mixed use of winter trails was briefly discussed.  It was noted that Parks Department official policy, as listed at their website, discourages / forbids snow shoeing on groomed x-country trails.  At Governor Nelson State Park, fines of up to $100 are issued for snow shoeing on a groomed x-country trail.   It was suggested that separate trails be developed / designated in the future for these two different winter sports.