BUCKHANNON – The new City of Buckhannon Parks and Recreation Board wants to make the city’s parks a little more user-friendly as one of its first official orders of business.
Mayor Robbie Skinner presented drafts of potential signage during the board’s Feb. 2 meeting that will let people know when the parks are open.
“We need to establish times in which the parks are open and then make sure it’s known that they do close, and they do open,” Skinner said. “If there is no signage, there’s no enforcement opportunity for the police department or any arm of the city to maintain the hours of the park.”
Currently, the only park with signage dictating hours is the City Park.
“It has had no uniformity,” Skinner said. “Down at the River Trail there are a few signs here and there, but they don’t tell you anything about the operation of the park, and then all the rest of the parks don’t have anything.”
Board member Debbie Shapiro asked if all the parks need to have the same hours or if they could be different.
“That would be up to the board,” Skinner said. “What I would suggest is turning that over to your committees, especially the programming committee, because depending on what kind of events they have ideas for, the park may need to be open past 9 p.m.”
He noted that the restrooms are usually a key component to the hours of operation.
“The River Trail is the most difficult, because [the trail] technically doesn’t have an opening and closing time,” Skinner said, which means the bathrooms there are open all the time, compared to the City Park. “Our City Park does have an opening and closing time. Our crew goes over and opens the restrooms every day, and then closes the restrooms every day. Typically no one is in the City Park at 6 a.m., but during the summertime, 5 a.m. is starting to get light and people are out walking on the River Trail. We don’t have crews here at 5 a.m., so we just leave it open — but that’s where we run into issues.”
Board member John Bohman suggested adding language to the signs that would allow scheduled events at the parks after hours.
“The sign says the opening hour and closes at dusk, but we might want to think about putting a caveat in there that says, ‘Closed unless approved programming,’ or something like that to allow some more flexibility,” Bohman said.
Board member Scott Lampinen suggested adding a contact number for the city for people with questions.
“You might want to have a statement that at least gives the city’s number for additional regulations or inquiries,” Lampinen said. “We’re not going to list all the rules, but you may have a set of standards and there should be something there to reference that.”
The board approved the draft layout of the signage and would refer to their committees for recommendations on hours for each park. The city’s Consolidated Public Works Board will now evaluate their suggestions and the draft layout of the signs.