The James E. Grey Preserve is close to getting a human resident.
City police Officer Justin Case has agreed to keep an eye on things at the city-owned preserve in exchange for living there rent free. Under a contract approved Tuesday evening by the City Council, Case will move a mobile home into the park.
The city agrees to clear the lot and install utilities to the home. The agreement treats Case as an "independent contractor," not as a law enforcement officer. He is required to notify the police or the Parks and Recreation Department when he sees something suspicious, but he is not required to confront anyone.
City officials decided to let someone live at the preserve as a way to deter would-be vandals from trashing the 80-acre park, where taxpayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements.