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Published: Wednesday, 2/22/2006

Delta: Regulations proposed for safety in new park

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DELTA - Village officials are considering an ordinance that would set up rules and regulations for the new Action Park, where young people regularly gather to use their bikes, in-line skates, and skateboards.

The proposed ordinance, which had the first of three council readings earlier this week, would require that park users wear appropriate safety equipment. The ordinance as proposed sets up rules that prohibit, among other things, reckless behavior, and the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco in the Action Park. Anyone violating the rules would have to leave the park, but the ordinance as proposed doesn't spell out the duration of that penalty.

Michelle Kranz, Delta's law director, suggested that council put some teeth in the ordinance in regard to penalties for breaking rules, but some council members supported the proposal as written, saying park users should be given the chance to show they can be responsible in following the rules.

Even if the ordinance doesn't specify criminal penalties, people using the park could be subject to disorderly conduct charges for such activities as verbal taunts or fighting.

Ms. Kranz said that because of liability concerns, and wants the rules posted in the park as quickly as possible, once the ordiance is approved.

Enforcement of penalty provisions could be an issue. For police, the biggest enforcement problem could be related to the proposed regulation requiring safety gear. Some people might be unable to afford the required equipment - a helmet with a chin strap, elbow pads with plastic elbow caps, and knee pads with plastic knee caps. The proposed ordinance highly recommends that all people wear all available safety equipment, such as wrist guards.

If police wind up making a lot of arrests to enforce rules and regulations, it could mean a tremendous amount of court time for police, said Gary Baker, village administrator.

Councilman Jerry Edwards said that he would be willing to distribute copies of regulations to youngsters as well as parents so that they are aware of them.

Depending on the weather and the time, 25 to 30 young people might be using the park at the same time, officials said.

Action Park, located in the community park, was created and equipped by the Delta Rotary Club, but it will be up to the village, not the club, to take care of it. The park features specialized equipment for skateboards, bicycles, and in-line skates.

Contact Janet Romaker

at: jromaker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6006.



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