JOHNSON CITY — As with the recent crackdown on inappropriate adult behavior at Johnson City parks, Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl isn’t dallying in his attempts to deal with questionable juvenile behavior at the skate park.
Last month, the City Commission gave strong indication it would like certain types of behavior curtailed at the park, located on Liberty Bell Boulevard near Science Hill High School.
Aside from reported instances of alcohol consumption, foul language, fighting and general unruliness, city officials also have concerns from a safety/liability standpoint.
“Nobody wears protective equipment over there,” Commissioner Steve Darden said.
Stahl said he and Johnson City Police Department Officer Bob Odom, who patrols parks, have been working to come up with ideas on how to better enforce rules.
However, enforcement efforts are hampered by unforeseen issues.
“Neither Officer Odom or I saw any signs out there that said you have to wear protective equipment,” Stahl said. “You can’t enforce what isn’t posted.”
In addition, Odom said he could not issue citations for trespassing — the park is supposed to be closed after dark, though juveniles often frequent the area in the evening and even late at night — unless the park is gated and locked during non-operating hours.
“We’ve looked at installing a 4-foot fence and if anyone chooses to jump the fence after dark, we can cite them into court,” Stahl said. “With a fence and gate, you can enforce criminal trespassing.”
Because of the issues surrounding the skate park, the commission also voted last month not to place a recently purchased pavilion at that location, instead choosing to place it at Willow Springs Park, located on Huffine Road.