Park rule violations to become misdemeanor

SWARTZ CREEK — In order to combat problems at Elms Park, the Swartz Creek City Council has shored up its parks ordinance and approved the installation of entrance gates.

City Manager Adam Zettel said there’s been no serious property destruction, but the city has seen an increase in issues with trash, noise, nighttime use and reservation noncompliance.

“This has been a trend for some time,” Zettel said.

The biggest change puts more teeth in the city’s ordinance regarding violation of park rules.

Under the amended ordinance, anyone who violates the rules faces a misdemeanor charge and potentially fines of $100 to $500. Repeat offenders could face jail time.

“I hope this will be effective and deter some of the things that are happening at the park,” said Councilwoman Samantha Fountain, who also serves as president of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The city council also voted to invest about $5,000 to gate the entrance/exit drives at Elms Park. City staff will open the gates in the morning, Metro Police Authority officers will close them at night. Vehicles left in the park after hours may be towed.

The park board and city council also are considering installing security cameras on the pavilions, which are popular gathering places for residents from throughout the region, particularly on weekends.