City tests youth deterrent device at Westsyde Centennial Park
It's the buzz of Westsyde — a box smaller than a toaster oven that's expected to save City taxpayers thousands of dollars in vandalism repairs.
City parks operations supervisor Shawn Cook said Wednesday one Mosquito deterrent device was bought for $2,000 with the hope that it will drive off vandals from parks around town.
Cook said the Mosquito is being tried out at Westsyde Centennial Park at the behest of the community association there.
"We had a couple fires there last year and some vandalism. We thought that would be a good location to start," he said.
"We're pretty confident it's going to work well."
If it does, other parks could get the devices, too. The Mosquito gives off a noise that's a frequency only its target audience can hear. The Mosquito will get turned on at 11 p.m. and buzz away until morning.
"We wanted to buy one and try it first, see how it works. We're having problems with Westsyde, we're having major problems at Mac Island. We're trying to find solutions that will work. Hiring security is more expensive than buying a Mosquito," said Cook.
"If they damage a park bench or do doughnuts in a soccer field or kick off 40 irrigation heads, we fix all that. It comes at a cost."
His department spends $20,000 to $25,000 a year to fix vandalism. But a few fires can pump the cost way up from that. And that doesn't include the City's $150,000-a-year graffiti budget.
"We'll try it out for this year, see how it goes."