City Council Puts Off Voting on Personal Trainers’ Use of Parks

Jenny Wright, Nicky Mecklenburgh, and Jamie Son do push-ups on a picnic table in Curtis Park during a 2009 boot camp. (Staff photo: Christina Barany)

Jenny Wright, Nicky Mecklenburgh, and Jamie Son do push-ups on a picnic table in Curtis Park during a 2009 boot camp. (Staff photo: Christina Barany)

The University Park City Council is nothing if not diligent. Though Tuesday’s agenda said the council would act on a much-debated ordinance governing coaches’ and trainers’ parks usage, Mayor Dick Davis promptly announced that any comments would be factored into a vote to be held in two weeks.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this has been something that we have been working on — and many of you have been working on — for quite a period of time,” Davis said.

With the most updated version of the ordinance draft posted to the city website last Friday, residents had a chance to review the document and revise their concerns. Some even found the newest version to be satisfactory. Others brought up a few lingering points.

“I know this is a complicated issue,” University Park resident and trainer Meredith Boyd said. “Where I’m struggling a little bit is the idea of my tax dollars potentially supporting a part-time person to nit-nibble some of these things.”

Parks director Gerry Bradley said he no longer thought a part-time enforcement employee would be necessary; that idea was developed when system abuse was at its highest. But there were still a few details to hammer out.

“For me to have to give them a three-day roster of who’s coming leaves me no room to schedule for kids who get sick,” said Preston Hollow resident Kathleen Duff, who usually coaches around four children a week. “I appreciate all the work that’s been done here, but I do think a huge net has been cast to try to capture a few guilty tennis hogs and some abusive boot-camp people.”

Both speakers also expressed concern over the Parks Department dictating where a group could train; that regulation sprang from abuse to trees and benches. The speakers said they need flexibility mainly depending on weather, such as rain or extreme heat in the summer.

“You’re not going to stick soccer players under trees; you’re going to use a rule of reason,” Councilman Bob Begert said, acknowledging Bradley’s willingness to work with the groups.

With that, comments on the issue were short and sweet, compared to many meetings past. Davis encouraged the public to email any further concerns and suggested that the council’s July 2 meeting would include a vote without public comment.

By Sarah Bennett Jun. 20, 2013 | 3:25 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
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