Letter: Camp Vits position misrepresented

4:01 PM, Jul. 30, 2013  |  Comments

I would like to set the record straight regarding my participation in the recent city council meeting and my comments on the proposed mountain bike trails at Camp Vits. What was printed in the Herald Times Reporter was a complete misrepresentation of what I actually said, and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify things, as well as explain the rationale behind my position.

First, regarding the proposed trail, I ride mountain bikes myself and fully support a new trail that follows the standards set for other parks in Manitowoc County, including: (1) an appropriate amount of parking, (2) clean and accessible public restrooms, (3) an appropriate number of garbage receptacles throughout the park with regular garbage pickup services, and (4) frequent patrolling and oversight by local law enforcement officers. To clarify these points further:

1. As the proposal stands now, there will be no public services at the proposed bike trail, including no garbage cans and no garbage service. Additionally, there will be no public restrooms at the park. Nearly every public park in Manitowoc has garbage services and public restrooms, which allow for the city or county to maintain a beautiful and clean park environment. The lack of these facilities and services create a situation where we have concerns about sanitation, public health and the risk of a "mountain of garbage" accumulating in the park over time.

2. Second, there will be no parking for individuals who use the park. This creates a situation where trail users may park in the adjacent neighborhoods and take "shortcuts" through the yards of landowners to access the trails. If bikers are injured on people's private property then we have concerns about the potential of liability. My comment about "doctors and lawyers" applied specifically to these issues of personal liability, and they were taken completely out of context. A liability situation like this pertains to every landowner, regardless of their occupation.

3. Third, there will be no proposed patrolling of this public park by city police, county police, park rangers, or any other form of law enforcement officer. It is no secret that illegal activity often happens at public parks after dark. I have absolutely no problem with bikers responsibly enjoying a public park during daylight hours. However, because there are many small children in our neighborhood, we have real concerns that a public park that is completely unpatrolled after hours will attract illegal activity, including the use and trafficking of illegal drugs by individuals I referred to as "riff raff." It is a fact that there is a growing drug problem in Manitowoc Country. As a father of young children, I have concerns about the safety of my family.

In summary, I feel as though my words were twisted in such a way that the HTR completely misrepresented my position on the proposed park and sparked a mountain of negative comments that have hurt me and my family. Their actions were not consistent with the standards of journalistic integrity, and I am disappointed that they would malign a community member in this manner.

I am also upset that our elected public officials would jump to conclusions and assume that what was printed in the HTR was absolute truth without sitting down or calling me to hear my side of the story.

In closing, I would like to apologize to my family, friends, co-workers and patients for all of the controversy and unwanted attention created by my participation in the city council meeting regarding the proposed mountain bike trail. Hopefully this information will help clarify my true feelings on this issue.

Kirk Dimitris


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