The City of Windsor has announced it will install more lighting at several parks to improve safety.
It comes at a time when residents in Forest Glade express concern over safety issues in their neighbourhood park. On Sept. 10, a 13-year-old and his friend were pepper sprayed. Windsor police are looking for 10 to 12 masked individuals who also had a Taser and possibly a gun.
"It's a concerning incident. That type of activity is not welcome in our parks and it's not welcome anywhere in the City of Windsor," said Mayor Drew Dilkens. "All residents, regardless of your age, should feel safe in the parks that they're using in the City of Windsor, including the Ganatchio Trail and elsewhere."
Dilkens said no particular incident prompted the announcement for any additional lighting. Improvements began last year and stemmed from residents' ideas from public consultations.
However, Monday's announcement won't change or improve the lighting that's currently at Forest Glade Optimist Park. The city already replaced the 26 traditional LED lights in the park earlier this year.
"It's nicely lit," James Chacko, senior manager of parks, told CBC News following the news conference.
He said the lighting at Forest Glade meets the overall standards within the city.
But last week, the 13-year-old's father, who said his son was pepper sprayed, said the city could further improve lighting at Forest Glade Optimist Park. Dave Bartsch said his son is shaken up and he won't let him go back there at night.
"It could have been a lot worse. I think he got a little lucky they didn't physically beat him up," Bartsch told CBC News last week.
Greg Lachance too wants to see changes in the park to further improve safety.
"Something needs to be done. This is my neighbourhood. This is where I live. This is my community. Somebody is going to get killed out here," Lachance said.
"I've known this for years — we are the forgotten ward," he added.
The two also said increasing police patrols at the park would deter violence.
Dilkens, also chair of the Windsor Police Services Board, said Monday that police are considering extending the time and hours for auxiliary police to patrol the park. Auxiliary police patrol parks on a seasonal basis, and are jointly funded by police and the city's parks department.
"During the spring, summer and early fall that park is patrolled almost seven days a week," said Dilkens.
Nearly $1 million is being used to install lighting across 14 parks in the city. The money is being funnelled through city council, ward funds and CUPE Local 82. Some projects, such as Forest Glade, have already been completed, while others will be finished next year.
Here's a list of city parks where lighting will be installed or replaced:
Remington: 30 solar lights.
Walker Homesite: 15 solar lights.
Forest Glade: 26 traditional LED lights.
Langlois/Southdale: 6 solar lights and 34 traditional LED lights.
Bridgeview: 9 traditional LED lights.
Riverfront: 27 traditional LED lights.
Bellewood: 7 traditional LED lights.
Optimist Memorial: 5 solar lights.
Maple Leaf: 12 solar lights.
Esdras: 3 solar lights.
Shawnee: 1 solar light.
Tranby: 11 traditional LED lights.
Riverside Baseball Park: 7 traditional LED lights.