Downtown BR park structures made off limits to skaters, bicyclists

The Metro Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that keeps skate boarders and cyclists off of downtown park structures in an effort to better preserve the outdoor furnishings including benches, steps and rails.

The ordinance already prohibits the activities downtown, but the wording is outdated and does not make reference of the recently built North Boulevard Town Square, where much of the damage is occurring.

Davis Rhorer, director of the Downtown Development District, said police have complained it is difficult to enforce the outdated ordinance, since the new park names are not listed.

The measure easily passed the council, 10-1, with Ryan Heck casting the sole vote against the measure. Councilwoman Tara Wicker was absent.

Some council members expressed concern the measure would discourage outdoor recreation.

“I understand it’s important not to have vandal-like activity,” said Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel. “But shouldn’t we also encourage outdoor activity and playing downtown?”

Mayor-President Kip Holden said that the ordinance protects city property but also attempts to prevent injuries.

“It’s dangerous; someone could get run over,” Holden said. “We’re trying to keep the property that people are now praising from being damaged.’

He also noted there is a 30,000-square-foot skate park for skateboarders and cyclists.

Editor’s note: The story was changed on April 10 to say the ordinance will keep skate boarders off park structures, not out of parks.