The Batesville City Council met for regular business Tuesday evening at the Batesville Community Center.
Aside from reports from City Engineer Damon Johnson, the council voted and approved a resolution authorizing the sale of a two-acre lot on the west side of the Batesville Police Department to Bad Boy Mowers; a resolution to seek grant funding for recreation facility improvements; and an ordinance amending city park hours.
The Batesville City Park hours were changed to 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. with intent to alleviate issues with congregating groups, excessive littering, and unruly behaviors that have made the park difficult for other patrons to enjoy.
According to Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill, the gathering of younger people started small in the south parking lot of the Batesville Community Center with permission, however, the chief said more started gathering and causing issues until he asked Parks Director Jeff Owens to close the parking lot when the center itself closed. When that happened, the groups then migrated back to the park on the south side of the river where the issues continued.
“About two nights ago, I came by there [park on the south side of the river] and there was probably 300 cars parked there,” he said. “There was trash everywhere. They won’t police themselves. They won’t take care of it. It’s time the city does something before somebody gets hurt. I know what the parents are going to say, and I’m going to make some enemies, but you know, the bowling alley is open, the movie theater is open, and they’ve got stuff they can do besides hang out on the south side of the river and destroy the park. And it’s not all of them, but it only takes a few to make everybody look [bad].”
Parks Director Jeff Owens added, “I just have to second it, and I’m not going to blame it all on teenagers. I mean there’s probably some adults that are over there contributing to that problem, as well. We’ve gone over there a couple of times and found some items to consider illegal.”
The ordinance passed unanimously. The ordinance will not apply to non-disruptive, non-destructive, or city-sponsored events and/or activities.
The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Batesville Community Center.
Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and yourfm 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.