Heflin council considers ordinance to place curfew at city parks
November 8, 2017
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star


City Council members Tuesday discussed a new park ordinance that would enact a curfew and several additional restrictions at the city’s recreation sites.

“Recently we’ve found some drug paraphernalia — that’s getting kinda serious now. So we’ve never really had a good ordinance that regulates our parks,” Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks said.

“It seems to me that common sense has gone out the window and you have to write everything down now,” Rooks said.

Rooks said that the city needs to be vigilant in controlling the parks against people causing problems and leaving drug paraphernalia lying around.

“So what this ordinance does, it gives our police department leeway in going in and enforcing these ordinances,” Rooks said.

Heflin Police Chief A.J. Benefield said the department has made five juvenile arrests and arrested two adults in the past week at the city park on Coleman Street. Two were drug related and the rest were theft-related arrests, according to Benefield. Benefield said the department has made arrests at Cahulga Creek Watershed Park, including multiple felony drug arrests and vandalism.

“We’re not looking to punish our law-abiding citizens and our kids that are out there enjoying our park. Our biggest thing is like always anytime — you’ve got a few that’s making it difficult for all the good ones that’s wanting to enjoy the park,” Benefield said.

The ordinance will make it unlawful to remain on the grounds of any city park except between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. unless otherwise posted. The walking track may be used between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. according to the ordinance.

“I believe setting a curfew there at the park is going to be able to give us teeth behind it to enforce it and get rid of any problems,” Benefield said.

The ordinance also specifies many other rules, including:

— No digging up vegetation or excavating soil.

— No damaging of any trees, shrubs or plants and any structures or facilities.

— No smoking on city park grounds and no alcoholic beverages allowed.

— Only one person per stall or bathroom unless the additional occupant needs assistance.

— No automobile cleaning or non-emergency repairs.

— No fires allowed.

— It’s unlawful to operate any skateboard, bicycle, skates, roller blades or similar items on walking paths while pedestrians are present.

— It’s unlawful to discharge any firearm, firecrackers, bombs, torpedoes, rockets or archery equipment; this rule doesn’t apply to the City of Heflin Archery Park and Rifle Range.

— The City of Heflin football and soccer fields shall only be used for youth league programs.

In other business the council discussed an ordinance that will raise the issuance fee for business licenses from $7 to $10.

The Veterans Day ceremony will be Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Heflin Armory. During the ceremony, the Armory will be renamed to the Sgt. Maj. Harold Lee Jones Armory.