BRADENTON - Bradenton Police say they can make Riverwalk safer by banning some people from using it.
They say a few bad apples are causing trouble, and now they want the power to issue them trespassing citations at the public facility.
Bradenton City Council gave the green light in the first reading of trespassing ordnance many hope will change the skating experience. “I think it's not only going to make it safe but it’s going to make it more fun for the kids out here trying to skate board,” says Ian Preston.
Preston is talking about a proposed county ordinance that would give the city of Bradenton the power to write trespassing tickets.
It’s a measure he thinks is necessary if the Riverwalk Skate Park is going to maintain its reputation. “The problem is if you come during the week on Friday and Saturday night, there are so many people on the skateboard park loitering that it's almost impossible to skateboard. You ask them to leave and they will not get out of the way.”
On Wednesday, the Bradenton City Council got one step closer to solving that problem. The group unanimously approved the first reading of ordinance 2945. The law would not just give officers the right to issue trespassing tickets, but also keep violators from coming back. “We just want people to feel safe coming to the Riverwalk and the Bradenton community and so we took this proactive approach of developing this trespass ordinance, which we don't feel is targeting any group such as the homeless,” says Captain Marriman.
Captain Marriman says their concerns are safety and crowd control. “This just strengthens our ability to limit the troublemakers from causing trouble at the park.”
It’s a move that has many skaters ready to do flips. “I've come out here at night and we've had people and gang activity going on. I mean they’re not skating. They don't even own a skateboard. I think if you put a law on that and have a cop tell them don't come back it would clean out the place a little bit.”
The second reading of and a public hearing on the ordnance is set for January 23rd at 6 pm.