The city spends countless hours caring for each of its 31 parks, playgrounds and monuments.
City officials need a little help from the public making sure the parks' rules are followed, however.
Recently, The Post-Journal received a letter from an upset citizen about the skate park at Chadakoin Park near Washington Street. The writer expressed concern about the number of bicycles in the skate park, although signs clearly state they are not allowed.
Large signs are posted at Chadakoin Park on Washington Street stating that no bikes or scooters are allowed in the skate park. However, when bikes do get into the park, they pose a safety concern that police and the parks department find hard to enforce.
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
According to John Williams, parks manager, not only do bikes in the park cause a safety concern to others looking to use the park, but also a safety concern with the equipment. Williams said the equipment in the skate park is built for skateboards and roller blades, and is not able to handle bicycles and scooters.
"We don't allow bikes in (the skate park). I know sometimes they do get in there, we haven't been able to stop it. But, we have asked them not to ride the bikes in there," Williams said.
Like all parks in Jamestown, Chadakoin Park does not have someone monitoring it at all times. However, the park does have a caretaker, who keeps an eye on the area. Although his main responsibility is to care for the park's grounds, he also helps to enforce the skate park rules.
"Half the time, when we do give kids a hard time down there, then we end up with vandalism. It's another big problem," Williams said.
Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said the department has not received any complaint phone calls in reference to the park. The police department does check the park periodically, though.
"One of our biggest issues are kids, and even young men, that refuse to wear their helmets," Snellings said. "We make them leave for the day. Littering is also an issue, and of course the bikes. When we do see it, we address it. Most of the time, we just ask them to leave the park."
Snellings said there have been occasions where he has charged people who have failed to follow posted park rules, which is a city code violation. Often, Snellings said, people will get several warnings to obey the posted rules before they are charged.
Although the police do periodically check in on parks, such as the skate park at Chadakoin Park, they also are unable to monitor them constantly.
"It's literally impossible for parks employees or JPD members to be there at all times, monitoring the activity," said Mayor Sam Teresi. "Parks department employees and JPD staff, when they see a violation happening, do routinely enforce it, whether it be helmets or no bicycles on the skateboard park."
Even though bicycles are not allowed in the skate park, there are no other locations in the city with ramps fit for them. Williams suggests bicyclists stick to streets, parking lots and other park locations to ride their bikes.
Snellings said the best way to help officers enforce park rules is to keep them informed when an infraction is happening. The police department non-emergency phone number is 483-7546.
"It's hard for us to address things when we're not aware of them," Snellings said. "We do periodically monitor the park. We are aware of some of the issues and concerns."