Cannelton leaders eye curfew

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City parks may be closed at night

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

CANNELTON - Cannelton city leaders ventured some ideas at a regular meeting of the board of public works and safety May 11 about preventing vandals from destroying property in city parks without infringing on residents' liberties.

Acting Police Chief Eric Dickenson said his department has stepped up the number of checks on the parks "to get a handle on criminal mischief."

Damage has occurred in the park known for a gazebo moved from its position along Seventh Street in 2004 to make way for a fire-station expansion.

"They've been destroying it," Councilman Adam Goffinet said.

Mayor Smokey Graves said the board might consider closing the parks certain hours.

"Short of fencing it," former Police Chief Charlie Little said, enforcing any restrictions on the park will be difficult because "when you step out onto the sidewalk, you're out of the park."

The discussion turned briefly to the possibility of enacting a loitering ordinance, but city attorney Chris Goffinet said it could be challenged on Constitutional grounds. The issue of prohibiting people from using Hargis Hafele Park during certain hours also arose, prompting him to note, "you can loiter (there) as long as you throw a fishing line in the water."

Anglers frequently fish from the boat ramp and adjacent banks and launch or land boats at all hours, the city leaders noted.

The attorney said he'll draft an ordinance for them to consider at their next meeting.