Livestream cameras have shown to be plenty useful around Albany County, whether it’s for travelers checking road conditions on Interstate 80 or train enthusiasts worldwide watching trains go by the Laramie Historic Railroad Depot.
The newest livestream camera in city limits will be at the Laramie Skatepark in LaBonte Park. Parks manager Scott Hunter told the Boomerang the cameras would allow people to check in real-time if the skatepark is clear of snow or whether it’s too busy with a class or big group to be able to use.
“We had some electrical money left over, and we talked with our IT division, and we decided to put some cameras up in the skatepark proper,” Hunter said.
The city’s IT department has finished the wiring for all the cameras, and Hunter said he expects them to be fully installed once the cameras are no longer on backorder.
In addition to the benefits for skatepark users, the cameras give city staff a view of the park shelter near the skatepark. While Hunter said it seems “like every year a different park is vandalized in some way,” the shelter near the skatepark tends to see more vandalism than others.
“It’s not necessarily the skatepark or the bike users that will do that, it just happens to be the shelter in that location is probably the most protected from view,” he said. “The local kids police the skatepark pretty well themselves.”
A few years back, he said, some vandals set a trash can on fire, damaging 30% of the shelter. While the cameras do have a periphery view of the shelter area to potentially see acts of vandalism, Hunter said he “can’t necessarily say the vandalism itself prompted any of this.”
“You can see what’s going on in the shelter, but it’s not necessarily paying attention to the shelter,” he said.
Looking to the future, Hunter said the Parks and Recreation Department is considering using specific purpose tax money, also commonly referred to as sixth penny tax, to upgrade the shelter near the skatepark.
“We will be hopefully demolishing that particular shelter restroom combination and splitting it out,” he said. “So, we’ll have a restroom in that location to serve the skatepark and the youth groups using the fields, and then a shelter that’s going to be more accessible to the public. So that may curb a few of our issues.”
As far as any additional cameras, Hunter said he doesn’t see them becoming a standard part of the rest of the parks in Laramie unless users request them.
“We have no major plans to try to curb vandalism that way,” Hunter said. “There are a number of ways to do that.”