Letter to the Editor

Rules on renting parks must be clear

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dear editor:

On Friday, July 6, I took my three grandchildren to Legacy park. I had been looking forward to this special time with them all week.

When I arrived at the entrance, it was blocked by a car so I knew right away that there must be an event there, so I parked on the other side and we walked in. A wedding had occurred earlier so there was a large number of people under the pavilion celebrating. There was a lot of fake rose petals scattered all over the areas by the rose garden and in the streams.

My grandkids and I had fun dipping our feet into the cool streams. There were several little boys fishing in the duck ponds with a few grandparents nearby. We were having a nice time when suddenly a man from the wedding party began to tell people to leave. I heard him stating to these little kids and adults that they rented this park and demanded that they leave.

I immediately stepped in. I told the man that he had no right to kick people out of the park. He argued with me. I further stated that I knew for a fact that they rented that area of the pavilion but that they didn't have the whole park and could not prevent people from coming into the park nor could they kick people out.

He yelled a lot of choice words at me in front of my grandkids. I was very angry but I ignored him and continued walking with the kids. A few minutes passed and I noticed that all the people who had been enjoying the park were gone. A group of men plus one lady from the wedding party ganged up on us, yelling they rented the park and we better get in our car and go. I continued to state that they had no right to do this as I walked the kids away.

Once I knew that the kids were safe from them, I called dispatch. I was told that they had gotten a call already and would send an officer out. Several other adults with their kids were standing on the parking area next to the soccer fields. They were all very upset at the verbal violence of the group. After 15 minutes, no police car had arrived. The wedding party had the entire park to themselves.

I called dispatch again and told them that four of the men had ganged up on us, using threats of violence to make us leave. Of course, the usual response that I have heard many times when I have called the police is, we have several officers on high priority calls but we will get one over there as soon as we can.

All of the remaining adults with their kids finally left. It didn't matter anymore because when the police ever showed up, it was too late. All of those kids who had been fishing, feeding ducks, or just enjoying the park had been forced out and their night ruined.

This is the third time that this has occurred to me when I have brought the kids to Legacy. The first two times I contacted Parks and Rec.

Both times they assured me that it would be addressed and that all people who rent the pavilion are told that they can't block the entrance or keep people out. I looked it up and it is stated in their rules.

However, this time the people threatened violence.

There has got to be a way to put a stop this. My grandkids or other kids should never feel unsafe and threatened at the park!

I feel that the rules should not only be in writing but a verbal discussion should be given to all people who rent the area for events. It should be explained that if they block the entrance and prevent others from coming into the park, they will be fined and given a citation from the police.

Since this has happen three times to me alone, I have to wonder how many times it has happened to others. I want to hear from Parks and Rec and city officials that this type of behavior will not be tolerated anymore. I want to know that kids will not be bullied and even worse, threatened by these people who rent the pavilion.

This has got to stop!

Kim Kovac