Council should keep Pioneer Park safe for children |

Council should keep Pioneer Park safe for children

As Nevada City officials weigh a possible alcohol ban at Pioneer Park, a transient is facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge in connection with a stabbing at the park.

Police say the man became angry at another man over a dispute involving beer and attacked him with a folding knife. The victim was stabbed under his left eye and in his side. He was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and eventually released.

The incident seems bound to resonate with city officials and neighbors of the park. One neighbor told the City Council recently that derelicts and alcoholics make Pioneer Park unusable for others. Whether that is true or not, it’s clear that having children use it alongside those who like to enjoy alcoholic beverages there may be a recipe for disaster.

Let’s remember there are a fairly finite number of places for children in Nevada City to play catch or slide down a slide. And naturally the idea of segregating children at play from adults drinking alcohol certainly has merit. And, unlike the youngsters who need somewhere to recreate, adults who imbibe have countless other places in Nevada City and beyond in which to do this.

So the City Council has asked the city attorney to devise an ordinance that would restrict drinking at the park, either by limiting it to certain areas in the park or by banning it altogether.

One city councilman stressed last week that he and others were working on the issue before the stabbing. That may be. More importantly, what is the city going to do about drinking about the park?

A restriction on drinking would make sense. If the City Council opts for this course, then city police must make a commitment to enforce the new rule. The restrictions will be a waste of time if they are not enforced.

And if the city chooses to restrict drinking and enforce said restriction, it may be an inconvenience for drinking adults and a boon for families who wish to use the park.

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