“I do think that we need to get new rules in the parks,” Council Member Lisa Prewitt said. “I take pride in my community and my river, and I think most people who go to our river and live in San Marcos do. We need to clean up the trash, and we need to keep our parks healthy and safe. Not everyone is going to like [the changes]. But I don’t think we really have much of an option at this point.”
Among the changes approved on first reading are:
— A ban on portable charcoal grills— Limits on the tents and shade structures
— Limits on the tents and shade structures— A ban on Styrofoam products, including but not limited to coolers, ice chests, cups, plates, toys, floats, kickboards,
— A ban on Styrofoam products, including but not limited to coolers, ice chests, cups, plates, toys, floats, kickboards, rings and swimwear— No longer requiring park rangers to provide verbal warning before giving a citation to a park user for public consumption of alcohol at city parks
— No longer requiring park rangers to provide verbal warning before giving a citation to a park user for public consumption of alcohol at city parks
In March, City Council provided direction to city staff to move forward with the changes and bring back formal ordinances for adoption. The item was brought back to council at a later meeting in March, but council members tabled the discussion, calling the proposed ordinances "not fully baked."
The second reading of the changes will take place at City Council’s next regular meeting, May 2.
In addition to the changes discussed Tuesday night, City Council also designated areas along Cheatham Street near Rio Vista as no-parking zones.
Parks Director Rodney Cobb said the city will have a gradual rollout of enforcement of the new rules beginning around Memorial Day. Until then, park rangers will be alerting parks users of the coming rules changes.
Mayor John Thomaides said he was discouraged by the amount of litter he saw at the river during Easter weekend.
Prewitt raised the possibility that the city could bring food trucks to city parks in order to reduce the amount of litter that ends up in the parks and river from people bringing their own non-recyclable picnic and food materials to parks. Cobb said that was an idea he had been considering, and he said he will give it further thought.