After receiving complaints about soccer matches in Gillespie Park, golf practice swings in Payne Park and late-night kickball games in Five Points Park, the city took steps this week to prohibit certain activities in the city’s parks.
“We want to restrict any possible dangerous activities,” said Bill Hallisey, public works director. “But blanket restrictions aren’t the way to go.”
Instead, Hallisey suggested designating the city’s 48 parks as either “passive” or “active.”
“Active parks” would allow things such as team sports, pick-up games and playing on playground equipment.
In “passive parks,” the allowable activities would be more sedate — walking, jogging and holding picnics, for example.
The city’s nine urban parks (see box) would have additional restrictions, because most are smaller, such as Five Points Park.
“When you look at the design of Five Points Park, it was never intended to have pick-up games,” said Hallisey. “Those parks were designed to be passive parks.”
Commissioner Fredd Atkins said he saw downtown residents’ desire to restrict Five Points Park as a masked attempt at kicking out the homeless.
“That park was built by (Community Redevelopment Agency) dollars for a place for people to gather,” Atkins said. “Secretly what you want to do (is) run those people out of there. But they’re not leaving.”
Hallisey said he would return to the commission after an ordinance is crafted that details the park restrictions.
SARASOTA'S URBAN PARKS
Charles Ringling Park: 2071 Ringling Blvd.
Fredd “Glossie” Atkins Park: 2581 Washington Court
Lemon Avenue Mall: Lemon Avenue and Main Street
Links Plaza Park: Main Street and Links Avenue
Little Five Points Park: Pineapple Avenue and Orange Avenue
Pineapple Park: Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue
Robarts Memorial Park: Ringling Boulevard and Links Avenue
Selby Five Points Park: Main Street and Pineapple Avenue
St. Armands Circle Park: St. Armands Circle
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