Madison continues efforts to install safety cameras in Strawberry, liberty parks

By MEGAN PHILLIPS,

Madison city officials are preparing to receive bids a third time for the installation of security cameras at Strawberry Patch Park and Liberty Park.

Two weeks ago, the mayor and board of aldermen rejected two bids for the project. The rejection was at the recommendation of Madison Police Chief Gene Waldrop.

This was the second time the city had bid out the project. The first time the city accepted bids for the project, no one sent in bids.

 For the second round, one bid was in the amount of $120,000, and the other was in the amount of $295,000. 

“One (bidder) said he couldn’t meet the specifications, and the other one came in too high,” Waldrop said. “It was too wide of a spread between the two bidders. I recommended (to the mayor and board) that they throw out those two bids and rebid again.”

Waldrop said no one within the city has discussed an actual amount for what the price should be for the cameras and their installation, but that he feels a cost of $150,000 would be a reasonable amount for the city to pay.

“I would be comfortable in making that recommendation,” he said. “The board has not discussed the price, but, looking at the two bids received, I think that would be a comfortable range.”

Waldrop said the city will rebid the project for a third time and hopefully receive a bid that gives the city what it’s looking for.

“(The project) is still moving forward. We will rebid it a third time and see if we can get something that’s reasonable, offers the coverage we would like, give a good project and move forward.”

 

Last year, the city experienced two vehicle break-ins in the Strawberry Patch parking lot.

According to Capt. Kevin Newman of the Madison Police Department, about 20 cameras will be installed in the parking lot and walking trail area.

“Basically, we’re getting additional security,” he said earlier this year. “The cameras in the parking lot and park area will feed back to the department.”

Newman said the cameras will act as a deterrent for possible criminal activity as well as an investigative aid if anything were to happen.

“We just wanted to take things up a notch security wise,” said Newman.

In February of this year, the city decided to install cameras at Strawberry Patch Park, and in March decided to include Liberty Park as well.

Having two different camera systems installed at two different times would’ve been more difficult for the police department and less fiscally efficient for the city.

“We would have had to deal with two separate systems and have it done at two different times. In retrospect, we rescinded the Strawberry Patch Park bid award and included Liberty Park so we only have one vendor, one type of system for both parks,” Waldrop said.

According to Waldrop, there have been no serious security issues at Liberty Park, but often high school students gather there and sometimes fights break out.

“There’s not any criminal activity that I’m aware of,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of instances where high school kids group up and wind up in a fight. The cameras for Liberty Park are proactive, but it’s a large park and it’s growing. We’re trying to get all that covered in the new (security camera) system there.”

Although the price to install security cameras at both parks is approximately $150,000, installing the cameras only at Strawberry Patch Park would cost a little more than $40,000, Waldrop told the Sun early this year.

However, Liberty Park, which was already larger than Strawberry Patch Park, has recently undergone an expansion. Three new baseball fields, a concession stand, and other amenities have been added to the park.

 

 

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