Girard City Council members heard a report Monday night by Gary Emry, Girard city administrator, who met recently with Girard USD 248 officials and Police Chief Jeff McDonald to discuss issues at the Girard Sports Complex.

Girard City Council members heard a report Monday night by Gary Emry, Girard city administrator, who met recently with Girard USD 248 officials and Police Chief Jeff McDonald to discuss issues at the Girard Sports Complex.

“The school officials wanted to talk about issues that start at the complex that find their way to school,” Emry said. “I heard that it’s being taken over by an ugly element, fights break out, etc. I heard that it was the female gender that was causing problems.”

He added that some graffiti had been put on one of the shade structures at the complex.

“We did get it cleaned off, but when I saw it, gang issues came to my mind,” Emry said. “The language had that feel.”

The city administrator said he had suggested that school activities might be scheduled at the complex to have a positive presence there.

The police chief said that patrols have been increased in the complex area and since July 1 his department had received 15 calls for service at the skate park.

“Nine arrests were made, both of juveniles and adults, and they have been to court,” McDonald said. “Some of the juveniles are no longer welcome at the park as part of their probation, and the adults have been fined. We’re hoping these practices will decrease.”

“We need to spin it back to what the community wants the sports complex to be,” said Maurice Harley, Girard mayor.

The complex is currently open until 11 p.m., and council member Susie Thom said she favored shortening the hours.

“If people are using it, I want them to be able to use it,” said member Richard Cussimanio. “What about installing a surveillance camera?”

Council member Dan Smith said he felt this problems would be happening somewhere else if they weren’t happening at the complex.

“We need high visibility and low tolerance,” Smith said. “I don’t think the sports complex should be the scapegoat for problems elsewhere.”

Richard Loffswold Jr., city attorney, requested a 15-minute executive session for the purpose of client-attorney discussion over possible legal issues involved.

The session was held, with then the council meeting continued with further city business.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a request by Diana Buckle of the Woman to Woman organization to use the old police office in the Civic Center from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 for a Christmas distribution program;

• Approved a request by Dale Samuels to close off East Forest Avenue between Summit and Ozark from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 for “Trunk and Treat,” a safe Halloween candy distribution for youngsters;

• Approved Resolution 2010-7 requesting demolition of a dilapidated structure at 208 N. Summit within 90 days, with a possible time extension if needed by the owner;

• Approved volunteer firefighter Julius “Butch” Reif as a substitute firefighter and heard that Fire Chief Dustin Johnson has been accepted to attend a course Nov. 7-19 at the National Fire Academy;

• Followed a recommendation by Emry not to adopt a rental housing ordinance because the city’s Minimum Housing Codes are sufficient;

• And approved allowing the city administrator to look at other companies for possible repairs to the leaking city swimming pool.