Collinsville Businesses Say Kids' After School Fun Becoming A Nuisance
COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma - After school fun is turning into a nuisance for many downtown Collinsville businesses.
Police said it's often dangerous for the kids, and community members said something needs to be done before someone gets hurt, or killed.
When school lets out, about 20 to 30 middle school students crowd downtown Collinsville. Some go into the shops, but business owners said a lot of them are darting out into the streets, fighting and causing problems for other people trying to enjoy downtown.
Small businesses dot Collinsville's Main Street, and for the past month, they've had a big problem with some of the youngest citizens.
Resident Ashlee Goode said, "There are times when I think, ‘Where are their parents? Why are all of these kids down here?’"
Attitudes Dance Studio owner, Anita Foster said, “I had a sign up here and there was six of them hanging on it to see how many kids it would take to pull it off."
Foster said business owners dread the hours between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., because that's when the biggest crowds show up, and they are doing more than just hanging out.
“They get out of control and sometimes they run out into the road, and sometimes the light’s green, and there’s cars coming, and they're slamming on their brakes and the kids kinda wave at them and walk off like it's funny," Foster said.
Merchants said the foul language and disregard for the no skateboarding and bike riding signs is frustrating, but they fear for the kids' lives more.
Foster said, "I'm afraid I'm gonna see someone get hit by a car, and I don't want to watch that."
Unless the police catch the kids violating the rules they can't do much, but officers are taking notice.
Thursday night they held a town hall meeting, and although only a dozen parents and merchants showed up, the police hope to find solutions.
Captain Daniel Boggs said, "Just have to make sure they are respecting people's property - they are staying on the sidewalk, they are not climbing on roofs, they aren't jumping on cars and they are doing what they need to do."
Thursday night we say one kid riding a bike down the sidewalk and another one ride a scooter right down the middle of the street; tickets for that cost $180.