Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson told city council members recently that he had big news: The geese at Lake Harrison are mainly gone.
The geese have been a topic of conversation for parkgoers for years — largely about the droppings they leave behind on sidewalks.
The city has tried various methods to run them off from the place where people take their children to play. They tried installing noise boxes with recordings of geese in distress to encourage them to leave, but that didn’t work.
Jackson told council members that other people made suggestions of methods that worked in other places, but the stubborn fowl remained where they considered home.
Volunteers from Church 180 tried sweeping the droppings from sidewalks, but that was labor intensive and really just moved the muck to the grass.
Jackson said the volunteers also used fire hoses to wash off the sidewalks. That worked better, but it was also labor intensive and required as often as five days a week, Jackson said.
“We probably had 250 geese over there,” Jackson said.
However, the city recently bought a gallon of chemicals for $150 and contracted with 1st Class Lawn Care to spray the grassy areas.
Wade Phillips, city chief operations officer, said the chemical isn’t poisonous to animals or humans, but is an irritant that makes the bird avoid areas sprayed. He said it’s not the first chemical the city tried, but it has been the most effective.
“This worked,” Jackson told the council.
The mayor wasn’t the only one happy with that development.
Last Thursday, there were about three geese still at the lake area, but they were staying near the water and not near the playground.
A couple having lunch in the park allowed that a few weeks ago they wouldn’t have been able to eat without the pesky birds begging for morsels.
Maria Troyer and her sons, Alexander, 6, and 4-year-old Hudson, were taking advantage of the cleaner Rotary Wonder Willa Park on Thursday.
Maria said the absence of goose droppings was a blessing.
Even Willa Crenshaw, for whom the playground is named, was there with one of her former teachers, Stephanie Barr, who also teaches special education at Harrison High School.
The mayor said the city has two more gallons of the chemical ordered.
“This is the biggest thing that’s happened, positively, in a long, long time,” he said while encouraging people to visit the park again.