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City Council approves park use ordinance pertaining to large events where food is served

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A measure aimed at regulating the use of park facilities in Brooksville was unanimously approved on its second reading by the Brooksville City Council during its regular meeting on April 3.

Under ordinance 956, anyone hosting an event (such as a family reunion) in a city park for 25 people or more where food is to be served must apply to the city parks and recreation department for a permit not more than 180 days before and not less than 30 calendar days before the date of the event.

Not more than one large group feeding permit shall be issued per week to the same person, group, or organization for the same park.
Non-profit groups such as churches and other organizations that regularly host feeding events that draw large numbers of people who are homeless or food-challenged may apply to use the park Pavillion and related facilities for the same day at the same time over several weeks to ensure that they reserve the facility without having to seek a permit week after week.

Costs of the permits and related required insurance coverage will be decided by a City Council resolution. The Council may also adopt a separate fee schedule for non-profit organizations. “These people helping homeless people don’t have money, and the people helping them are already (paying) out-of-pocket with food, clothes, and other amenities,” said Vice Mayor David Bailey. “So it would be a nice gesture on our part to give them something towards the group.”

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Brooksville Mayor Blake Bell said that the ordinance will help the City’s park and recreation department know ahead of time what events will use park facilities, how to schedule necessary maintenance, and how much personnel will be needed to carry it out.

“The reason this was brought up was because Brooksville is behind the times when it comes to this,” Bell said. “The County, if you want to use a County park right now, this is very much in place.”

Council member Christa Tanner said that the ordinance will provide the city with data that may come in handy later. “The city is collecting this data (on park use) to truly see how many people are using our parks, when they are using our parks, and what for. I think is a positive thing for the city that may, down the road, help us get grants to improve our parks,” she said.

Finally, the Brooksville City Council approved the ordinance by a vote of 5-0.

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