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New rules intended to make park safe, pleasant to visit

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By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

CANNELTON – Members of the Cannelton Common Council adopted an ordinance at their regular meeting Nov. 11 establishing rules for the city’s Gazebo Park.

The park was intended as a city asset when it was opened. A small structure that formerly served as a bandstand near the city’s fire station had been moved there to allow expansion of the station. A May 2004 News story reported grant funding, money raised by firefighters and their labor were to go into the move.

Hopes to provide residents a pleasant spot in the city’s center are stained by complaints that some who linger there behave in ways that repel others. Recent examples have included the use of BB guns and people simulating sexual acts when children are present.

As the News reported Oct. 24, the city’s board of public works and safety discussed the use of toy weapons after Police Chief Lee Hall told members he’d received complaints. It was difficult to catch the offenders in the act, he said.

Published as a legal ad in Thursday’s News, the new ordinance is an effort to prevent such activities. It prohibits anyone from being in the park between sundown and sunup or from using tobacco products there at any time. Also prohibited is the possession or use of any type of weapon, defined as “any object which … is capable of inflicting serious bodily harm or property damage.

A list of weapons prohibited by the ordinance includes BB guns, stun guns, air- and gas-powered guns, knives, razors, clubs, electric and chemical weapons, metallic knuckles, martial-arts weapons, explosive devices and rockets with a propellant charge of more than four ounces.

To comply with a state law enacted in 2011 prohibiting local governments from regulating ownership and other aspects of firearms, the ordinance includes the statement, “the term ‘weapon’ excludes a firearm as defined by (Indiana Code) Section 35-47-1-5.” That law defines firearms as devices that use explosions to expel projectiles.

The ordinance went into effect with its passage by the council and its publication.