Single council member opposes hour extension in city parks

Ordinance to open parks until midnight passes 6-1 at Tuesday night Council meeting

Craig City Council member Don Jones opposed an ordinance to extend city park hours until midnight, but his opposition wasn't enough to stop the ordinance from passing.

The ordinance allows city parks to remain open to the public until midnight instead of 10 p.m. and was approved 6-1 on its first reading Tuesday night. It will not go into effect until approved on its second reading scheduled for Jan. 11.

Several teens attended the meeting in support of the change.

"We need a place to hang out where there are no neighbors and no noise problems," high school student Alicia Bower said.

The idea to extend the hours came from a teen focus group held with the Craig Police Department. The city curfew for teens is midnight, but teens say they have no place to go after the parks shut down.

"I have a lot of friends who sit around and do a whole lot of nothing because they have no place to go," student Angela Vessely said. "This would give teens a place to go and hang out where it's easily patrolled by police officers."

Council members commended the teens for turning out in support of the ordinance and most said they wanted to give them a chance.

Councilor Don Jones was concerned that with both the City Park and Woodbury Park being so close to residential areas complaints from residents would follow.

"I do want to see a place for you to hang out, but I don't think city parks are the place," he said.

Jones said in other places teens have congregated there have been complaints of loud noise, squealing tires and littering.

"Sometimes things happen that make us look bad," Vessely said. "There are good teens and I don't think it's fair we should suffer the consequences of other's actions."

Six councilors agreed.

"I think we need to give them a chance and deal with problems if they come up," Councilor Kent Nielson said. "Idle time creates bad things."

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