COLUMBUS, Neb. -- Columbus Parks and Recreation is temporarily closing down one of its ponds for the time being. Sock Pond is located off of 13th St. in Columbus. The pond, as of now, is not available to the public because of a recurring problem. 

“We just want people to take pride in their public parks and we want people to be able to pick up after themselves," said Betsy Eckhardt, Parks and Recreation Director.

Dumping litter and other miscellaneous items has been a major issue that this pond and many other areas around Nebraska are dealing with. 

“It started with just lawn clippings and then also branches, stuff like that,” Eckhardt said. “As of lately, it's become people's extra lumber and then Monday morning, when we got to work, we found actual household furniture and stuff out there.”

Because of the excessive amount of trash that the pond has accumulated, Eckhardt said she had no choice but to temporarily close down to allow the department to clean the pond. 

“We don't want any of our parks to look poorly," Eckhardt said. “And having obvious, you know, trash and illegal dumping in there makes it look poorly. It also hinders our ability to clean things up when there's extra people out there.”

Eckhardt said that she plans to install a new security camera system, so they can catch the people responsible. 

“The public parks are for everyone to be able to go out and enjoy," Eckhardt said. “So when one person takes it upon themselves to vandalize or to dump trash, you're really creating an experience for other people that is not good.”

“I think maybe it's happening because it's just easier for people to leave their trash in different places," Matt Lindberg said, Public Communications Manager. “But at the end of the day, it can cause damage to the environment. And it makes it less enjoyable for people to use those parks.”

The pond will be temporarily closed for the time being, while the Parks and Recreation department can get the pond clean and find a solution to prevent illegal dumping. 

In the state of Nebraska, littering is a Class III misdemeanor and can come with heavy fines.