Rule to ban skaters in park: Council considers ordinance, cites liability, damage

BROWNSTOWN

The last thing Brownstown officials want to see is someone getting hurt at the new Heritage Park.

With more people using the facility, the town’s parks board has suggested the town council establish an ordinance banning recreational wheeled vehicles from the area.

That would keep people from having skateboards, rollerblades, inline skates, roller skates and scooters on the pavilion. After discussion during a recent meeting, the council decided to have town attorney Rodney Farrow include the whole park in the ordinance.

Councilman Bill Sweeney said he thought bicycles shouldn’t be allowed either.

“Bicycles don’t have any business being up there on that thing,” Sweeney said of the pavilion. “That’s not a place to actually play. I don’t think that place down there is for anything like that.”

Councilwoman Sharon Koch, who serves as a liaison to the parks board, said that board also wanted to see the ordinance created to prevent damage.

Skateboarders have been seen on the concrete ramp at the pavilion using it as a place to do various tricks, and town officials don’t want the new facility to be damaged.

“If they don’t do damage, fine, but if they were to damage it or get hurt, that could cause trouble,” Koch said.

“The kids just use it as a stopping point,” Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said. “They are not there very long. They stop there, they congregate, they talk for a while, they go up and down the ramp a few times and then they head off somewhere else.”

Someone recently suggested putting up a railing on the east end of the stage where there is a step down to the sidewalk because someone with a depth perception problem may not realize there is a drop-off.

Putting up a railing, though, may pique interest from the skateboarders to use along with the concrete ramp, Koch said.

“I wish we had a place for them. That would be very nice,” she said of having a skate park.

Council President Sally Lawson said there are a couple of low rails at the Jackson County Park in Brownstown that skateboarders can use, and they also have been seen doing tricks in other areas of town.

Farrow said he will draft the ordinance and present it to the council at an upcoming meeting.

If the ordinance passes, Lawson said a small sign could be erected near the stage to remind people about what’s prohibited.

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.