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Park district requires permits for golf cart/four-wheeler use

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:41 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — If people want to drive golf carts or four-wheelers in the Princeton parks, they need permission first from the park district.

At this week’s meeting, the Princeton Park Board discussed the option and process of giving permission for additional motorized vehicles to be used on park property.

There has been a concern about motorized vehicle use in the parks ever since the Zearing Park expansion project, Executive Director Elaine Russell said Tuesday. Driving motorized vehicles in the park started with the Princeton Youth Soccer and Baseball leagues using golf carts and four-wheelers to deliver their equipment to the ball diamonds and fields. This use was agreed upon between these two groups and the park district, Russell said.

The problem came when this use was seen by some people in the general public, and they felt it was acceptable to ride such vehicles without permission, Russell said. However, it’s important to understand that to obtain permission the individual owner of the cart(s) must produce insurance coverage that adds the park district as an additional insured party in the event of an accident.

At this time, there are only two vehicles, beside the youth groups and park district vehicles, which have been given permission, Russell said. The park district is in the process of ordering signs that will indicate motorized vehicle use is by permission only, she said.

“I also want the general public to feel free to contact authorities at any time if they see motorized vehicles abusing this permission. Anyone with permission will have a laminated 8.5-by-11-inch sheet with them, which must be in their vehicle at all times,” Russell said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Russell reported the park staff is working on an in-house project to widen the sidewalk at the front of the Metro Center and to also install new handicap ramps. In addition to being busy with the spring mowing at the various parks, the staff will also be installing more memorial benches around the Zearing Park walking path.

Also concerning Zearing Park, Russell said the fishing pier at the new fishing pond remains closed for now, due to damage received from this past winter’s extreme weather conditions.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, Superintendent of Parks Keith Scherer has said the cement bases under the ramp leading to the fishing dock are “heaving up” at different levels. The heaving has essentially twisted the ramp, pulling at all its seams and joints. Much of this is due to freezing and thawing throughout the winter months, Scherer said.

On Tuesday, Russell said the park district is waiting to hear from engineer Kevin Heitz with Chamlin & Associates for a meeting time with the original contractor to discuss the park district’s next step in repairing the damaged pier.

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