By Mary WilsonWith the Grandview community embracing their new parks and showing their appreciation at the polls on August 5 with the passage of more no-tax-increase parks bonds, the excitement of what’s already been completed has received attention from neighboring cities. With an uptick in usage from Grandview residents, as well as the metro area as a whole, Grandview Parks and Recreation staff has also seen an increase in complaints.
“We are seeing a tremendous increase in park usage across the city,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Lucas. “With that increase, we are also seeing and hearing concerns from citizens regarding park usage after dark.”The complaints have been from concerns stemming from Meadowmere, Mapleview and Valley Parks. Previously, city ordinance allowed for park usage between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily.
“The current ordinance makes it difficult for our police department to enforce the ordinance because if it’s 9:00 and dark outside, people are legally allowed to use the parks,” said Lucas. “Given that most of our parks are in neighborhoods, and the fact that not much good comes from activities after dark, we believe that the park hours need to be modified.”
Lucas discussed possible scenarios with staff and also gathered information from other area ordinances to determine what the best-case-scenario would be for Grandview. Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen voted to unanimously approve a new ordinance regarding park usage hours at the Tuesday, August 12 meeting.
Effective immediately, the ordinance now states that it is unlawful for any person to be on or in the premises, boundaries or facilities of any park or park facility between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from April 1 to October 31, and between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from November 1 to March 31. An exception would be made for those participating in a scheduled, supervised program of the city’s parks and recreation department or with written permission from Lucas. Those breaking the ordinance could face a fine of up to $100, or face up to 90 days jail time.
“The police department preferred a scenario with set hours because it keeps things much cleaner for them and eliminates interpretation,” said Lucas.