WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 18, 2010, 09:26 AM

Age ban proposed at park after vandalism and littering complaints

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - Casselton's Park District Director says he wants the littering and vandalism to stop in the local skate park. He's going as far as proposing an age ban in the park.

Stephen Bartholomay says they've spent about 2-thousand dollars repairing damage at the skate park and basketball courts. He's brought up banning teens, but area law enforcement say that's illegal.

Any day of the week, drive by this high school hot spot and you can bet you'll hear the sounds of kick flips and 3-pointers for hours.

ELIZABETH: "We just kind of come here everyday and chill with all of our friends because there's like no place else in town."

KIERAN: "This place is just a good environment for kids, where everyone can see it too."

But Casselton's Park District Director says problems have been mounting since August.

STEPHEN: "Broken windows in vehicles for example, we've had the door on the park garage kicked in a couple of different times. Last summer, they stole keys to a park district pick up and vandalized it and burnt it up."

Stephen believes banning the 15-18 year olds will cut down on the vandalism.

STEPHEN: "I've had parents tell me they don't feel safe down there because of the older kids hanging out down there."

But Cass County's Sheriff, Paul Laney says it's illegal to target a specific group of people from using a public place. Instead, he says the departments agreed to use their two and a half designated Casselton deputies to step up enforcement right after school.

SHERIFF LANEY: "What we are going to do is see who the troublemakers are who causing are some of the problems, and we will individually deal with them and trespass them on an individual basis as we come across them if they're violating ordinances within the city of Casselton."

But these skaters and ball players say they rarely see problems in the park and just want to keep up the socializing.

KIERAN: "I think that's dumb because I think this is a place kids can just come and get to socialize and stuff, find new friends, hang out."

Sheriff Laney will go to the Casselton park board's November meeting to talk about options on what they can do keep the area safe, without a ban.