DUBOIS – On Tuesday night, the DuBois City Council approved the first reading of proposed Council Bill 1939, which would increase restrictions in recreation areas.
Council must hold a second reading of C.B. 1939 and approve its passage before it takes effect. Under the current proposal,
- parks and recreational areas, including the walkways, would only be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless there’s a city-approved activity.
- Individuals over the age of 12 years old would be prohibited from use of the playground equipment. This would also include the swings.
- Individuals would be prohibited from swimming, sitting, wading, splashing water from or throwing any object into any fountains, waterfalls or similar water features.
- Non-DuBois City authorized motor vehicles would be forbidden in the parks or recreational, aside from parking areas.
- Bicycles, skateboards, roller-skates, hoverboards, segways and electric/manual scooters would be forbidden. It was noted that council would likely add any newer products, similar to those already listed, when they come out mainstream.
- Any animals, which can be ridden, would be forbidden from the city’s recreational areas without a permit. Horses, cows, pigs and elephants were named specifically as examples. However, the permit requirement would not be limited to just these animals.
- Pets would be prohibited at the city’s parks and recreation areas, except for at the dog park and the walkway area, which is marked dog-friendly. Service dogs are an exception, but not a “comfort animal.” In approved areas, dogs are still required to be on a leash.
- Open fires would be prohibited. Special permits, however, would be given for use of the city fire pits. The fires would have to be fully extinguished and the coal and or ashes removed afterwards.
- Consuming drugs and or alcohol and being under the influence would be prohibited within the park and recreational areas.
- Smoking would be prohibited outside of the designated areas.
- Resisting, obstructing or refusing to obey a lawful order from a city officer would be forbidden within the recreational areas.
- Without the proper permit, the use of sling-shots, firecrackers, arrows, explosives, etc. would be prohibited within city recreational areas.
- Hunting would be forbidden in the city’s recreational areas.
- Begging and soliciting would be prohibited.
- Any lewd, immoral or indecent acts would be prohibited.
- Vandalism, loitering, gambling, abusive language and sitting on tables would be prohibited.
- Day- or night-camping without a special permit would be forbidden.
Violators would face fines between $100 and $600, plus costs associated with any damages. It was noted many restrictions were proposed due to complaints received by council members.
Councilwoman Diane Bernardo asked if the council bill would be passed before Community Days in June. In response, City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio said there’d be “no dogs or bikes” signs up.
The restrictions about closing hours and camping arose from concerns over the area’s homeless population.
“You just don’t want vagrants setting up an overnight camping trip,” said Suplizio, which led to discussion of a known “tent city.” He added that they wanted to discourage its possible relocation or a “copycat location.”
Police Chief Blaine Clark added that people have also been discovered sleeping in the city’s restrooms.