A nighttime gate might be the solution to property damage near the Rotary Riverfront Trail.

Last week the Washington Parks Department reported drivers doing “doughnuts” that damaged the gravel parking lot and landscaping near the trail. The drivers flung mud onto portions of the trail on at least two occasions.

Parks Department foreman Chad Owens told The Missourian doing doughnuts is dangerous and it takes a lot of work to fix. He encouraged anyone with any information on the damage to contact Washington police at 636-390-1050.

At Monday’s administration/operations committee meeting, Councilman Steve Sullentrup said he felt like the city could do something to prevent the damage.

Sullentrup wanted to know if the city could close off the gravel parking lot after dark. He suggested a barrier of some sort to prevent vehicles from accessing the area. He said there was really no reason for people to be there after dark.

Director of Public Services John Nilges said he had spoken to Parks and Recreation Darren Dunkle about the issue. Nilges said both were open to installing a gate.

Nilges said a gate would be more visible and would send a clear sign that the area is closed. He said the only issue with a gate would be during floods, but that could be addressed.

Police Chief Ed Menefee said the problem has been ongoing. He said officers get reports, but never license plate numbers. When officers show up, the culprits are gone.

City Administrator Darren Lamb suggested that, in addition to adding a gate, the city could look into installing a security camera at the site.