09/08/04 — Tighter rules instituted for town parks

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Tighter rules instituted for town parks

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Published in News on September 8, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Parks in Mount Olive will now have tighter rules, particularly at Kids World.

The board approved rules for the town's parks Tuesday, as well as a plan for ceramic tile artwork at the Westbrook Park restrooms and the formation of a Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission.

The advisory commission, which will be formed by the end of September, will enable the town to qualify for grants.

Lynn Williams, secretary for Friends of the Parks, spoke for the president, Ernie Taylor, in making the three recommendations. They passed unanimously.

The new park rules will become effective on Oct. 1. The parks will close at dark. Pets are permitted in the parks except for the Kids World playground in Westbrook Park. But they must be on a leash.

No firearms or weapons, fireworks, profanity or fighting are permitted in the parks. Reservations are required for use of the picnic shelters, and parking is permitted only in designated areas.

Kids World has more rules. No pets are permitted in the playground, and no bicycles, skateboards, skates or any kind of motorized vehicles are allowed on the walking trail or in the playground. Food, drinks and even food wrappers are prohibited in the playground because they may attract fire ants. No smoking is allowed on the playground, to prevent fire.

"Kids World has had an enormous amount of use -- which is good," said Mrs. Williams.

She said the Friends of the Park is discouraging adults and teen-agers from playing at Westbrook Park, but the group's biggest concern is the policy for reservations for the picnic shelters and gazebo. "We've had large groups converge on the park at the same time and have had issues with that. It's a good problem to have for people to come from all over. We want people from the surrounding counties to feel welcome to come."

People can reserve the picnic shelters and gazebo by contacting Town Hall and obtaining written authorization. A calendar will be posted at the park for people to see when reservations have been made.

Town Manager Ray McDonald said reservations should prevent the confrontations that have occurred at the park.

The mayor, who is a member of the Friends of the Park, said the rules are designed to make it more compatible for use, not to discourage anyone from using it.

He announced that Kids World would be closed Saturday for a work day. Volunteers will be applying sealer to the wood.