Neighbors of Colman Park were handed half a victory when the Raytown Park Board finally addressed problems at their neighborhood park by agreeing to hire two police officers to patrol the park next Sunday evening. The patrols are in response to unruly crowds gathering at the park on Sunday nights. Complaints of public drunkenness, indecent exposure, fights, illegal vending, loud music and foul language were a common theme at the meeting held at Raytown Park headquarters on Monday night. The special Park Board meeting was a standing room only event as neighbors packed into park headquarters to discuss problems at the park with Park Board members. The night before (Sunday evening) Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters had invited Park Board and City Council members to the neighborhood to view the Sunday evening activity. Three of the Park Board members attended the gathering on Sunday evening (Nancy Sheil, Carmen Nolke and Bob Smith). Also reported to be in the park that evening were Ward 3 Alderman Charlotte Melson and City Administrator Michael Miller. The crowds in the park, though smaller than usual, did not disappoint. A fistfight and illegal vending of food along with the public drinking were part of the night’s venue. Police took 40 minutes to respond to a complaint on the illegal vending. When they arrived they slowly drove through the park and left without stopping. They were called back and asked to at least make the vendor turn off the noisy generator. On the second pass – an officer did finally stop and tell the vendor to turn off the generator. The incident points to a serious problem on the lack of enforcement of park rules and city laws at the park. At Monday night’s meeting Park Board President Bob Smith said someone needed to get the license number of the vendor. A resident suggested that he (Smith) get the number from the police who responded the night before. For that matter, Smith could have gotten the number himself – after all, he was a witness to the vending going on in the park. There is a sense of denial by city and park officials of problems at the park. They should be applauded for taking the limited step(s) they have taken – but it should also be noted that there was no permanent solution offered. When it was suggested that park curfews be set to an earlier, more reasonable time, they would not discuss it. When it was suggested they go to three softball games per night rather than four, they complained they would lose revenue. When it was suggested that they turn off the power to shelter houses when groups illegally amplify music and disturb the surrounding neighborhoods – they turned a deaf ear to the discussion. Revenue earned from a softball game is not worth the well-being of a community. Park Board members and city officials need to re-think their priorities and place the welfare of the Raytown homeowners and taxpayers that pay the bill first – not second to chasing the almighty dollar. After all, parks are supposed to be a plus to a city, not a detriment. When that simple rule gets turned on its head – there is definitely something wrong.