No Sitting on the Grass at J. Walter Juckett Park…Seriously!
Village Ordinance Attempts to Curb Loitering in Hudson Falls
Controversial Law Bans Sitting on the Grass at J. Walter Juckett Park
Imagine a park where you are not allowed to sit on the grass? Welcome to J. Walter Juckett, a park among five other village parks – Derby Park, Paris Park, Grace Park and Wall Street Pond – where the board passed a rule banning people from sitting on the grass.
Mayor John Barton said in The Glens Falls Post Star’s article that the law wasn’t meant to change people’s behavior at organized events such as summer concerts but to stop them from loitering and hanging around.
The whole purpose of parks is to provide the public a safe place with trees, green pastures and fresh air, a place to play and get away from the drudgery of school and the boredom of being home.
“That’s not something we are going to enforce during concerts or other events,” he said. “People will still be able to sit on the grass and listen to concerts. The issue we have had is with loitering and people just hanging around on the grass. There are benches and places to sit.”
This past August, the board held a public hearing about an increased use of the parks in the village along with a new vendor policy to review that they developed. Since no one from the public spoke out and opposed the idea, the board voted to strengthen the rules and apply them to all the village parks.
It’s all right to walk, gallop, do cartwheels, skip and run so long as you don’t actually sit or lie down on the lawn. Violators can expect to be not only physically removed from the premises, but receive a heavy fine of up to $250 or 15 days in jail.
The law also prohibits dogs, cats and other pets from visiting the parks. What happens to apartment dwellers with no access to backyards? Do they have to drive and visit neighboring towns that aren’t brazen as to enforce such restrictive rules to their residents?
The following sentences in the four-item addendum concerning Juckett Park were included in the new law. “Sitting or lying down on the landscaped and grass areas of the park is prohibited. Lying down or standing on park benches is prohibited.”
David Suzuki, a Japanese Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist, said we are surrounded by nature from parks and backyards to streets and alleyways. Next time you go out for a walk, tread gently. We are both inhabitants and stewards of nature in our neighborhoods.
–Diana Denner is a Contributor to The Free George. Photo Courtesy of villageofhudsonfalls.com
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