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Disruptive and abusive behavior by a gang of youths in Evans led the Town Board Wednesday to restrict hours in the town parks effective immediately.

After hearing complaints from residents and Police Chief Robert Ferguson, the board voted to close the parks at 7 p.m.

During a public hearing on the issue, residents cited incidents of vandalism, foul language, littering and intimidation at Derby Park.

Ferguson requested the earlier closing, calling it a tool the police can employ to clean up the area.

"The problems we have incurred are the worst I've experienced in my career," Ferguson told the board. "We'd like the opportunity to clean up the area. With no closing time now, there is no way to make arrests."

Residents attending Wednesday's meeting, including senior citizens who live near the park, said they were afraid to leave their homes.

Supervisor Robert R. Catalino II read a letter from Derby resident Thomas C. Bosiacki, who said a gang of youths has "taken over the park," located on Nettlecreek and Route 5. Bosiacki cited incidents of foul language, littering, nudity, vandalism and drug use.

Catalino stressed, however, that the action was being taken to deal with a specific problem, and that the Town Board would be looking to modify hours at the other parks in the town before next spring.

In other business, the board scheduled a public hearing on the preliminary 1998 budget for 8:10 p.m. Nov. 5 in Town Hall, Route 5, Angola. The proposed $12.5 million spending plan includes a decrease in taxes for town residents.

The board also scheduled a public hearing for 8 p.m. Nov. 5 on fire protection for the Angola Protective Fire District.

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