City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department to start enforc - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department to start enforcing group permitting ordinance

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Some of the people who've used Columbia's Drew Park recently haven't been too kind to it.

They've left behind damage and litter. And in some cases, their gatherings have been illegal with groups at times in the hundreds.

That's one reason the city is planning to crack down on big events that haven't been formally approved by the city.

"The wear and tear of our parks has kind of demonstrated the impact of some of those activities," said Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Canton. "And as a result the city is concerned that if we don't get some control and start to manage our facilities, that wear and tear is going to continue to the point that the public can't enjoy the use of the facility anymore."

Starting Feb. 15 city officials will begin enforcing existing statutes requiring anyone planning a gathering that could attract 25 or more to get a permit.

That includes charitable groups like the one organizing a feeding event for the homeless at Finlay Park at noon this Saturday.

Canton said the permit fees, which can start at $75 dollars an hour, would not be waived unless the organizers have direct ties to the city.

"There is a waiver within the city ordinance that provides the opportunity to reduce fees, however that waiver is based on a direct affiliation of the organization with the City of Columbia," he said. "And that that organization is fulfilling the mission of the City of Columbia and that it serves for the public good."

Permit applications can be obtained at the Parks and Recreation office, located at 1111 Parkside Dr. in Columbia or by calling 803-545-3100.

A permit application needs to be filed with the director of the Parks and Recreation Department at least 15 days prior to the event date. Fees for the permit will be assessed on the size, duration and type of activity being requested.

A permit is not required for events, activities or festivals sponsored or co-sponsored by the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100. To find official copies of all City ordinances, please visit www.columbiasc.net under the "City Council" page.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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