It could be time to take another look at opening and closing times for Tylerâ€™s parks â€” even the lighted ones, the cityâ€™s Parks and Recreation Board members discussed Monday.
The City Council in October passed an ordinance to designate the hours of P.T. Cole Park from dawn to dusk after a police request to do so because of a summer gang-related killing there.
But Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings said the cityâ€™s ordinance governing park hours can be confusing because of different opening and closing hours. Some parks, such as Bergfeld, have dusk to dawn closure, with the exception of their lighted tennis courts, which may stay open until 10 p.m.
â€śWe need to organize times and be clear about when the facilities are open in the evening,â€ť Ms. Rollins said. â€śEven if itâ€™s lighted, there should be a closing time.â€ť
There are special athletic events or tournaments at night at Faulkner and Pollard parks, so those facilities could stay open during those times, Ms. Rollings said. Board members discussed 10 p.m. as a possible closing time for parks with lighted facilities. The Parks Board took no action Monday about the park hours,
Tyler police will be asked to come to the boardâ€™s next meeting in January to give crime statistics on the cityâ€™s parks, and community members also will get a chance to give input, Ms. Rollings said.
â€śThe lights at P.T. Cole Park donâ€™t come on at all since we changed the hours,â€ť Ms. Rollings said.
Tyler police recommended not having the parkâ€™s lights come on at all once City Council members voted to change the operation hours. The number of visitors to that park seems to have changed, Ms. Rollings told board members. She said she passes by P.T. Cole Park most days on her way home from work since the incident during the summer, and that there are few people there now.
â€śBefore, when I would pass by there at 8 p.m. over the summer, the park was full of people â€” I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s from the shooting or because people donâ€™t feel safe,â€ť Ms. Rollings said.
She added that there had been a great deal of vandalism at some parks, including Fun Forest Park.
â€śThere has been graffiti and some things have been torn out of the bathroom,â€ť she said.
Itâ€™s not uncommon for newly planted trees and rose bushes to disappear from Faulkner Park or the cityâ€™s Rose Garden, Ms. Rollings said.
Tyler police spokesman Don Martin on Monday said it might be too soon to say if there has been any impact on crime at P.T. Cole Park since the new opening and closing hours were implemented.
â€śWe would have to run a crime analysis of that to see what impact it has made,â€ť he said.
The next Parks and Recreation Board meeting will be on Jan. 27. The place has not yet been decided.