Police Tell Neighborhood To Take Back Their Park
Residents in the Fay Road neighborhood attended a community police meeting Thursday night to air issues of drug and alcohol use, loud noises and teen problems at Roosevelt Park and speeding and increased traffic on Fay Road.
Three years ago Chris Fay moved on to Fay Road. One of the major reasons he chose the neighborhood was the park across the street.
But over the last 36 months, he has seen an escalation of problems at Roosevelt Park, specifically drug and alcohol use, vandalism and graffiti, increased noise, etc. The increased issues at the park prompted Fay to write a letter to Framingham Police.
Thursday night, police held a community meeting for residents who live on Fay Road, Benson Ave., Daytona Ave, Desoto Ave., Harmony Lane, Knox Ave., Seminole Ave. and Weybossett Ave. About 60 residents packed a meeting room at the station for a 90-minute meeting, run by Officer Sean Riley and Deputy Police Chief Ken Ferguson. (Editor's Note: I live on Fay Road.)
Over the last year, Police responded to 143 calls in the Fay Road Neighborhood. Ferguson said that is not a lot of calls considering Framingham averages about 50,000 calls a year.
The higher number of calls were for medical help, suspicious activity, motor vehicle crashes, groups congregating, motor vehicle stops, family problems, noise complaints and breaking and entering.
"Your have a great neighborhood," said Ferguson, who noted this was the largest crowd Framingham Police has had for a community police meeting. "Ideally, we'd like a cop in every neighborhood but the reality is that can not happen."
Besides holding last night's meeting, Fay's letter prompted the police to do an investigation at the park. Riley said police found evidence of drinking and drug activity. They had known about the increased graffiti and vandalism.
Some residents told police they are afraid to use the park.
"Your neighborhood is 99% good," said Riley. "Don't be afraid to use the park. Don't let the 1% force you out of your park. Come together as a neighborhood and take back your park."
One mom said while driving her daughter to school, she saw the park was on fire. The same mom said she is woken up at night by loud teens and regularly, she has witnessed drug dealings on her street.
Residents also complained about the increased traffic on the street, especially during the commuter hours of 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Speeding was also an issue on the street, according to residents. The posted speed limit is 25 mph.
Ferguson said he knows speeding is an issue on Fay Road.
Other residents complained about teens congregating late at night at the park and making loud noises. Residents also said there are drug and alcohol issues at the park. One couple said they witnessed a man sleeping on the bench when they went for an early morning walk at the park.
Police working with Framingham Parks and Recreation, who oversee the park, have since installed a no trespassing from dusk to dawn sign at the park. Regularly, the two departments work together on cleaning up the vandalism and grafitti.
"We want to hear your concerns," said Framingham Police Chief Steven Carl. "You have more knowledge of what's going in your neighborhood than anyone else. Help us address the critical issues in your neighborhood, by alerting us of the issues."
Riley and Ferguson encouraged the neighborhood to call them anytime.
"Report, report, report," said Ferguson, who said that 85% of the crime in town is drug-related. Residents can call the police department's anonymous tip line at 508-872-1212. Ext 3888.
Police said take down description of cars and license plate numbers. Give descriptions of people and teens who are causing problems or look suspicious.
At Thursday night's meeting, three residents expressed unhappiness with police response, when their home was broken into. Police said they need to prioritize calls by importance. For example, if a resident comes home and thinks the intruder is still in the house it will prompt a quicker response than if someone calls and says I left for work and when I came home, I found my house was broken into.
One Benson Avenue mother said she is unhappy her new neighbors play loud music more than eight hours a day. She also said it appears there were 20-plus people living in a home next to her; something police indicated could be a building code violation.
"I have a strong desire to make this neighborhood the best it can be," said Selectman Dennis Giombetti, who grew up in the neighborhood, and still has family who lives in the neighborhood.
Giombetti said Roosevelt Park was designed to be a neighborhood park, that's why there is almost no parking.
He encouraged the neighborhood to continue to call police when they see and hear things and to be vigilant.
"You have a wonderful neighborhood," said Giombetti. "It's one of the best neighborhoods in town."
"You need to take back that park," said Riley, who said police will respond when they call. "Once you take back that park, 95% of the problems will go away."
Giombetti said he remembered the dedication for Roosevelt Park and the large crowd from the neighborhood that attended the celebration. "I have a strong connection to the park," he added.
Residents, who attended the meeting, discussed re-starting the old neighborhood association or forming a new neighborhood association.
There also was discussion of having events at the park just for the neighborhood. Framingham Parks & Recreation offered to help with any planned events. Police said they would support neighborhood events at the park.
Residents interested in joining a neighborhood association, or working on a committee to set up neighborhood events, should feel to email me at email@example.com so I can forward the names along.
Roosevelt Park Facts:
- Dedication of Roosevelt Park took place in Oct. 2003.
- Roosevelt Park sits on the site of the former Roosevelt School, a neighborhood landmark for more than 75 years. The former school bell and name plate was incorporated into the park.
- Cost of the Park was estimated at $450,000
- Plaques on the park's archway honor five of the neighborhood's favorite sons: Roosevelt School Principal Peter C. Davis (1956 to 1962); Victor Galvani, one of the first graduates of the school in 1926; former accountant John Giombetti; former Roosevelt School custodian John Tomasetti and former Town Meeting member Tilio "Buff" Franchi.
- There is memorial to Luigi D. Ferrazzi, who was killed in action in World War II. He had lived in the neighborhood on Wilson Avenue.
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