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LaFollette to pass parks ordinance at meeting

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By PETER SAWYER

 The LaFollette City Council is in the process of passing an ordinance to regulate the city’s parks. At the meeting Sept. 4, the council passed the ordinance on a first reading.

The ordinance was drafted after Mayor Mike Stanfield suggested the council create regulations for dog walkers in Sergeant’s Park at a workshop in June. The mayor had received complaints about dogs going to the bathroom in the park. Children were stepping in the dog’s excrement, Stanfield said. At the July 3 meeting, city attorney Reid Troutman told the council there wasn’t a comprehensive ordinance for all of LaFollette’s parks, and suggested drafting one that included regulations for dogs.

“With all the different types of parks they have, they needed something,” Troutman said. “They needed some regulations.”

LaFollette had access to the ordinances of other municipalities through the Municipal Technical Advisory Service while drafting this ordinance.

After it was drafted, Troutman and LaFollette Recreation Department Head Johnny Byrge looked at it.

“It’s basically just a standard ordinance other (cities) use,” Byrge said. “I guess it’s just to protect the city, the ordinance is.”

The ordinance includes regulations that will apply to all LaFollette’s parks, including the skate park, Ken Snodderly Park, the sport complex at East LaFollette, Pine Park, the Cumberland Connector Trail, Splash Park, the tennis courts, Freeman Park and Seargeant’s Park.

The ordinance includes regulations for dog walkers. While it requires “all animals” to be on a leash “not exceeding six feet in length,” it also includes a provision that holds dog walkers responsible and liable for the control and behavior of dogs while using designated off-leash dog parks. Dog owners are also held responsible to remove animals’ waste from the park.

The ordinance includes park hours. Nobody is allowed to remain in any park from sunset to half an hour before sunrise, according to the ordinance. Lighted facilities, such as ball fields and tennis courts, remain open until 10 p.m.

People aren’t allowed to bring firearms to parks, according to the ordinance. This includes slingshots, firecrackers and fireworks. The ordinance also includes regulations that restrict the possession of controlled substances or alcoholic beverages “except in places with valid permits such as marinas, restaurants and golf courses.”

Some of the regulations have to do with safety. Bicycle riders must stay on paved vehicle roads or designated routes, and All Terrain Vehicles are prohibited in the parks, according to the ordinance. Skateboarders are only allowed in places designated for skateboarding. This includes the skate park and paved greenway trails, unless otherwise posted. Those who use skateboards, skates or bicycles must wear protective helmets.

The ordinance restricts picnicking, as well as other types of recreation, to designated areas, according to the ordinance. Those who use picnic areas cannot leave until the fire is extinguished and trash is placed in receptacles.

Nobody can solicit alms or contributions without written permission, nor can they sell or advertise without a permit, according to the ordinance. Signs and placard are also prohibited on adjacent lands and roads.