BOUNTIFUL -- Frustrated by the residue of problems that linger after some people use city parks, local officials have put new teeth and restrictions in the city's park regulations.
The city council recently voted unanimously to adopt new restrictions in city parks, including guidelines limiting the use of water slides, the ability to hold fundraisers or yard sales or even drive stakes, anchors or signs into the ground.
The new regulations also limit any activity on city tennis courts other than tennis, and include restrictions on what kind of shoes can be worn on the courts.
The new restrictions come after city workers have experienced some frustration with behavior in the park, said Jerry Wilson, parks director.
He detailed some of those frustrations. He told city officials in the case of water slides, for example, some people were using large amounts of city water for hours, and the residue left dead grass where the slide had been placed, in addition to leaving soccer fields below unusable.
Wilson also cited other cases where the water slides were used and city water wasn't used. In one case, participants used olive oil on the slides, which wreaked havoc with grass in the park.
City Attorney Russell Mahan said the new guidelines become very important in enforcement at parks.
"We have some people who want to be quoted chapter and verse on why they can't do it," Mahan said of certain activities in parks.
In regard to new tennis court regulations, Wilson said the paint used on tennis courts is mixed with sand and quickly wears off when people use the court for something other than tennis. He notes the cost to resurface the courts, when they are "flattened" by improper use or shoes, is about $9,000.
He also detailed how some kids have used courts for soccer, and said the soccer balls have caused damage to the nets, requiring frequent replacement.
Besides new restrictions, the guidelines do offer Wilson and other city officials a bit more flexibility. Permission to conduct some activities in the parks, such as sleeping, camping or erecting a tent or inflatable, can now be given verbally, instead of in writing.
Mahan noted it was difficult in the past to chase down small bits of paper granting permission.
Some portions of the old guidelines do remain in place in the new ordinance.
It is still illegal to build or ignite any fire, except in a fireplace or such other designated place, leave or deposit trash or refuse anywhere except in containers for that purpose, or to pick, cut or damage any flower, vine or shrub or plant life in the parks.