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Plan may give ‘teeth’ to park enforcement

POSTED: July 1, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Angry parents tossed from youth league games don’t have much to worry about at Dawson County parks.

  

But that could change if the Dawson County commission approves a new proposed park and recreation ordinance.

  

Presented Thursday, the proposal “provides a clear means for the enforcement” of current park and recreations rules and regulations and establishes new rules for existing and perceived problems, said Dawson County Marshal’s Sgt. Robbie Irvin.

  

Specific problems include littering, personal conduct, possession of alcohol or controlled substances and commercial activity, among others.

  

General restrictions encompass helmet requirements for youth under 16, fires except in designated areas and traffic speed enforcement.

  

Fines up to $1,000 per offense would be imposed by the marshal’s office and handled in Magistrate Court. Violators could also be banned from a park and recreation area for up to 60 days.

  

In addition to rules and regulations at the county’s ballparks, the proposal also addresses issues at the county’s various recreational areas, including River Park on the Etowah River and War Hill Park on Lake Lanier.

  

The proposal would limit camping to designated areas and for no longer than 14 days at a time, which would prevent people from taking up residence.

  

Park Director Lisa Henson said the park and recreation board has reviewed the proposal and believes it would benefit the county.

  

“For many years we’ve had a lot of really good rules at the park, but no teeth for enforcing them,” she said.

  

The commission is expected to discuss the matter during the meeting, set for 6 p.m. Thursday in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Chambers at City Hall.

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