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— Passed on its first reading by the town council was a proposed ordinance making it criminal trespass for any person to violate the park rules while in the city park.

The maximum fine for trespassing in Highfill’s municipal parks is $100, but $500 if trespassing in an occupiable structure.

Examples of rule violations which will become criminal trespassing if the ordinance is adopted by the council are being in the park after hours (other than from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. without written permission from the park commission); littering; possessing alcoholic beverages in the park; removing natural resources; operating motor vehicles except on designated roads and pathways; having a fire outside of designated fire pits and grilling equipment; bringing unleashed pets into the park; and selling goods or soliciting in the park for commercial purposes without a permit or prior written permission from the park commission to do so.

Though a number of council members wanted to pass the ordinance on three readings with a single vote, and with an emergency clause, to put it into effect immediately, there were not sufficient votes to suspend the rules for that purpose. Toby Lester, James Wiand and Sandy Evans were the only council members present, and Evans opposed suspending the rules for an immediate passage.

The matter will be brought back to the council at its November meeting for its second reading.

In other business, the council authorized the town’s mayor, Chris Holland, to apply for a community enhancement grant in the amount of $125,000 to purchase, install, operate and maintain a system of six storm-warning sirens within the town to alert residents and warn them of severe weather threats.

The Community Enhancement Grant Program accepts applications from incorporated towns of less than 20,000 in population and unincorporated rural areas, with successful applicants eligible for up to $50,000 in non-matching funds through the program. Applicants may request a maximum of $150,000 by special letter of request. Eligible projects include such things as renovations, new construction or additions to publicly owned or municipal buildings, baseball and softball fields, landscape and beautification projects, park and picnic areas, jogging and walking trails. Applications are being accepted through Nov. 20.

The town applied for $125,000, with the city’s matching portion of the project being in labor and donated land for the storm sirens. The grant request has the support of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, the Children’s Shelter (with a new facility being built in the town), and Governor Mike Beebe, Holland said.

Also approved by the council on Tuesday was a resolution appointing James Wiand to fill Position 4 on the town’s Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment. The position had been held by Blake Webb, but he had to resign after moving out of Highfill’s corporate city limits.

Wiand fills the unexpired term of Webb - until Dec. 31, 2013.

News, Pages 11 on 10/21/2009

Print Headline: Breaking park rules could be trespassing in Highfill

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