Cortland playground remains closed due to rats

The playground at Dexter Park in Cortland is closed while the city works to eliminate a rat problem.

The playground at Dexter Park in Cortland has been closed for more than a week because of a rat infestation problem.

Ward 7 Alderman Troy Beckwith says the city believes the issue began at a nearby house where up to 70 rats were recently trapped.

The homeowner and the city have both hired pest control services to get rid of the rodents.

The city hired Sweeney Pest Elimination out of Homer.

"They set up bait boxes and they're getting them," Alderman Beckwith said.

The bait boxes have been placed throughout the park and on the edges of the playground. Inside the boxes is a slow-acting poison the rats will eat, leave, and then die.

"The houses surrounding the park, if they find a dead rodent, they [Sweeney Pest Elimination] will come and remove it at no charge," Alderman Beckwith said.

While the playground remains closed, the basketball court, tennis court and baseball field are all open.

"I have spoken with the Health Department. They really don't think there's any health concerns, but until we get the rodent situation under control, I felt it was important to keep the park closed. We then can determine what we are going to do with the mulch either treat it or replace it," Alderman Beckwith said.

In the meantime, neighbors are reminded to keep trash in closed containers, keep grills clean, and keep lawns mowed.

The city hopes to re-open the playground in about four weeks.

There will be another public meeting to update neighbors of the effort to get rid of the rats on Tuesday August 28th at 6:00 p.m. at Dexter Park.

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