Throughout the holiday week, YourObserver.com will be counting down the top 12 stories of 2010 (one from each month) from our Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers. Check back each day for a reprinting — and any relevant updates — of the biggest news items of the year.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Jan. 21, 2010
The city has defined all of its parks and is prohibiting certain activities from those parks.
After fielding complaints about people playing golf in Payne Park, soccer in Gillespie Park and late-night football in Five Points Park, city staff created an ordinance that would place all 48 parks in one of two categories — passive or active.
Passive parks are defined as those with “low-impact activities, such as walking, jogging, sitting, picnicking or similar activities that typically require no organization, specialized facilities and/or equipment.”
The definition of active parks is those with “high-impact activities or team sports, such as football, softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, disc golf, lawn bowling, swimming or similar activities that typically require organization, specialized facilities and/or equipment.”
The ordinance prohibits those activities allowed in active parks to be played in passive parks. It would also prohibit in all parks activities that the city deems “unreasonably dangerous or destructive,” and limit certain activities, such as golf and archery, to certain parks.
People wanting to operate radio-controlled aircraft in any park need written permission from the city.
Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner expressed some concern about the signs at each park and whether they’ll have to list all the prohibited activities.
According to Public Works Director William Hallisey, for the city or police to enforce the new rules, signs will have to be installed, but he said there’s no rule on how big the sign has to be. The goal is to make the signs as unobtrusive as possible.
The commission approved the ordinance 4-1. Commissioner Fredd Atkins dissented.
“I believe that this ordinance gives the kind of indecisiveness to police officers that creates all kinds of problems — selective enforcement,” he said. (It) also gives (this to) those neighborhood patrol people who want to watch their grass to basically just aggravate people.”
ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE
Because several parks are surrounded by heavily traveled roadways, the city is defining them as passive parks. The new ordinance states that “active recreation is incompatible with high-volume automobile and pedestrian traffic.”
Those parks are:
• Charles Ringling Park, 2071 Ringling Blvd.
• Lemon Avenue Mall, Lemon Avenue and Main Street
• Links Plaza Park, Links Avenue and Main Street
• Little Five Points Park, Pineapple Avenue and Orange Avenue
• Pineapple Park, Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue
• Selby Five Points Park, Pineapple Avenue, Main Street and Central Avenue
• Fredd “Glossie” Atkins Park, 2581 Washington Court
• St. Armands Circle Park, St. Armands Circle
Contact Robin Roy at email@example.com.
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