Victim's Sister Wants Sturdier Fence In Park

By: Forrest Sanders Email
By: Forrest Sanders Email

In 2005, the steep embankments and swift undercurrents around Weldon Peete Park claimed the lives of 52-year-old Richard Stout and 18-year-old Christopher Morrison.

Two years later, Richard Stout's sister is back in Bowling Green, making sure such an incident doesn't happen again.

We found out what the parks and recreation department is doing to prevent another drowning and what this Kentucky woman believes still needs to be done.

It's a meeting Melissa Rumsey has been waiting to have for weeks.

"My concern about the fencing is that it's not sturdy enough," Rumsey said.

She's talking with the Warren County Parks and Recreation director and she's wanting people to be aware that these waters at Weldon Peete Park are more dangerous than they seem.

"What kids don't realize when they get into this river is that it looks very calm, but the undertow is very strong," Rumsey explained.

Two years ago, Melissa's brother fell to his death on the steep embankments around the lake.

Now, Melissa's watching the current wire fence being repaired and she says it's not enough.

"I feel good that they're looking at it, but I think there's more that could be done to improve it," she admitted.

But according to park officials, these repairs are a weekly occurrence and no amount of sturdy fencing is going to stop trespassers from tearing it right back down.

"You've got to take that into consideration. We think it's quite sufficient because when we repair it, we want it to be a minimal cost to the tax payers," assured Phil Moore, Director of the Warren County Parks and Recreation.

In an effort to stop the fence damages, the parks department have closed the park during nighttime hours.

Melissa says it's a good start.

And what she wants now are more prominent "No Swimming" signs and for some of the funding going toward a boat access ramp to go to the creation of a new fence.

"There's real people with real significant lives that have drown out here. They really need to look at the safety issues out here," Rumsey said.

Moore added that he's asked both the Bowling Green Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff's Department make regular check-ups on the park.

He said the officers will handle any trespassers who are either damaging the fence or entering the neighboring embankment area illegally.


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