New signage and increased police patrols are coming to city parks, according to City Manager Thomas Ambrosino.
District 4 Councilor Enio Lopez and District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero requested the city manager look into ways to help make city parks safer and cleaner.
“With respect to those who secure permits to use our parks, a requirement of the permit is to leave the park in good condition,” stated Ambrosino. “Any permittee violating this provision may have its permits revoked.”
Recupero also requested that there be signs specifying that alcohol is prohibited in the parks, citing several recent incidents where there was drinking in city parks.
“We will add such signs in parks where appropriate,” stated Ambrosino. “The DPW does plan to install more signage in all of our parks this season.”
As for increased police patrols, Ambrosino stated that he has asked Police Chief Brian Kyes to ensure that patrols are bumped up.
“In certain parks, we are assigning officers on overtime to do more active patrolling,” he stated.
Ambrosino said he is also working to address the dog waste problem in the city that has been raised recently by several city councilors.
“Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this problem of increasing dog waste, particularly in our parks,” he said.
But, Ambrosino stated he has taken two steps to help address the issue.
“First, I have asked the Animal Control Officer to pay more attention to the problem of unleashed dogs and dog waste in our parks,” he said. “Some additional enforcement cannot hurt. Second, my office will be working with the City Clerk’s office to mail a new brochure to all licensed dog owners notifying them of the City’s existing dog regulations and the rules in our parks.”
With two exceptions, dogs are allowed in city parks as long as they are leashed at all times.
The exceptions are in parks under the jurisdiction of the school department, where dogs are not allowed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days, and in the city’s designated dog park, where dogs are allowed unleashed.
In other business, Ambrosino stated that over the summer, the city will look at a grant program for non-profit youth sports programs.
Councilor-At-Large Leo Robinson made the request to provide additional funding avenues for youth sports programs in Chelsea.
“I have met with the staff of the Division of Recreation & Cultural Affairs to start discussing the parameters of such a grant program,” stated Ambrosino. “Over the course of the summer, the recreation division will work to develop criteria for such a program. I expect to return to the City Council in the fall with more specifics, and hopefully, a funding source.”
Council President Roy Avellaneda noted that special legislation requiring linkage fees for new development in the city is making its way through the state legislature and that those fees could help provide funding for a grant program.