Calls for service in 2020 drop at Duck Creek Quarry
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – Calls for service in 2020 consumed about one-tenth the time of last year at Duck Creek Quarry Park, Public Safety Director Ed Janke reported Monday, Sept. 14, to the Howard village board.
“I think the numbers are quite revealing,” he said. “And I hope we take those statistics into consideration when we establish policy for next year.”
The quarry, which remained closed until June 18 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only allowed village residents and their guests to use the swimming area until the beach closed for the season Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
Not including self-initiated and proactive policing, Janke said this year 222 minutes were spent on calls for service prior to the quarry opening with 131 minutes spent after the opening for a total of 353 minutes, compared to 3,253 minutes spent on calls for service in 2019.
“(The data also suggest) what would happen when we would reduce the number of people, and more specifically, who could actually attend,” he said.
Janke said he didn’t receive negative comments from Howard residents regarding the board’s policies on limiting beach use at the quarry.
He said the beach was well attended by village residents this year with only three calls for service after the opening, compared to having multiple days in 2019 with eight or more calls for service when beach use wasn’t restricted.
When swimming was allowed this year, Janke said the village contracted with Star Security to provide security along with a park ranger.
The board initially decided in May to close the quarry over concern about the spread of COVID-19 from possible overcrowding with other nearby swimming areas closed this summer.
After the board voted 5-4 in June to reopen the quarry, gates and additional signage were installed with only village residents and their guests with wristbands allowed to use the beach daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Janke said the possibility of extending the hours for swimming into the evening next year is something the village could look at over the winter.
“It certainly could go until dusk, maybe a little bit earlier,” he said. “We just tried to contain it this year because of costs.”
Except for swimming, the remainder of park and trail remains open this fall to all visitors and for all uses during normal park hours.