Ahoskie establishes rules for parks

Published 8:48 am Thursday, August 15, 2013

AHOSKIE – Bicycles, yes; but skates and skateboards, no.

It’s part of more than 25 rules and regulations governing the use of Town of Ahoskie parks and recreation areas within the city limits adopted by the Ahoskie Town Council at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday.

“We didn’t have a whole lot set aside to talk about what can and can’t be done out at the park as far as where you can use bicycles, skateboards, gas grills and the like,” said Town Manager Tony Hammond at the meeting.

Hammond went on to state that he went online to compare the rules and regulations other municipalities of Ahoskie’s size have been using across the state.

A revised copy was prepared for Council that showed what rules regulate the use, occupancy and conduct of persons in and around parks within the town limits and what the consequences would be for those failing to adhere to the rules.

“It’s basically guidelines, rules and regulations for our park (the Ahoskie Creek Recreation Complex) and underscores what we have out there,” Hammond went on to add.

The written presentation included showing locations for handicapped parking, the 18-hole disc golf course, two children’s playgrounds, the Amphitheatre, hiking trails, the (canine) Bark Park, exercise station, baseball complex, batting cages, and concession stand.

“It also talks about additional things that we are looking at out there which include a Splash Park, additional playgrounds, additional concession stands, a walking trail, restrooms, and two additional picnic shelters,” Hammond added.

The final portion showed photos of the facilities and their location.

Use of the three shelters will require reservations and there is a usage fee with the reservation ensuring shelter choice.

The shelters are located at the baseball complex; the second one adjacent to the athletic field, and the newest shelter constructed this spring on Lakeview Drive that can seat as many as 100 persons.

There will be a discount for Hertford County Schools groups and fees are non-refundable.

The number for reservations is 252-332-5146 and reservations can also be made thru Parks & Recreation at 252-332-4811.

“Eventually, people will be able to go in online and fill out an application and submit it that way instead of having to come in and do it (in person),” Hammond said. “It (the website) will actually show everything that we’ve got currently available at that park.”

Mayor Brien Lassiter inquired about how park patrons can find out about the rules and regulations regarding park usage without inundating the park with signs.

“I know we don’t want to put up a thousand signs because that just takes away, but has there been any thought given to a sign here or there that just kind of goes thru (the regulations) because obviously some (rules) are more abused than others,” the mayor said.

Councilwoman Linda Blackburn said she had received comments from park patrons about the number of signs currently displayed at the park.

“Honestly, we’ve got quite a few because people just wouldn’t pay attention to what we’ve got out there already,” responded the Town Manager.

“Maybe just a big sign that sort of captures the essence of what we’re trying to say,” suggested Blackburn.

It was suggested by the Mayor that a copy of the park rules be inserted in Ahoskie residents’ water bills and Hammond said that was very doable.

“Brochures at the concession stands would also be a good thing,” said Blackburn.

Councilwoman Elaine Myers drew a laugh when asking about the rules regarding remote-control toys (they are prohibited unless participating in a special event or an activity approved by the Parks & Recreation Director).

“Someone was flying a plane around during one of the ball games,” she remarked with a chuckle. “So you see they can be a problem.”

One of the additions to the listing of park rules concerns geocaching, which is a form of treasure hunting or scavenger hunting, usually with the aid of a GPS device for satellite-based navigation.

“It usually happens in larger parks, but in case we get to that point we don’t want them going out and digging up our park looking for these things so there are rules and regulations that cover that,” said Hammond.

The rules were approved by Council, meaning failure to adhere to any rule or regulation may result in expulsion from the facility for the day and/or for an extended period of time. Failure to abide following that will result in violators being subject to arrest for trespassing.