Horses, ATV’s blemish PA parks

Published 4:20 pm Monday, July 6, 2015

Port Arthur is preparing to crack down on people who mar city parks either by riding horses, or ATV’s on the grounds, and leaving evidence behind that they’ve been there.
Whether it’s waste from the equines, or ruts left from ATV’s, the city is receiving numerous complaints from local citizens, Albert Thigpen, Port Arthur director of Parks and Recreation, said.
“There have definitely been a lot of problems, especially in the outlying parks,” Thigpen said.
City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday will consider amending the city’s code of ordinance to prohibit horseback riding and operating unlicensed  motorized vehicles at city parks.
If adopted, the amended ordinance would read, “No person shall ride, graze, walk or otherwise present a horse on a public park.”
Though the problems are concentrated in the outlying parks, as well as Adams Park near Memorial High School, Thigpen said the ban would extend to all of the city’s parks.
“People have gone mudding in our city parks and at our baseball field,” Thigpen said.
If adopted, the amended horseback riding  ordinance provides that anyone in violation can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined an amount up to $2,000.
Those found guilty of the misdemeanor ATV offense could be fined up to $500.
In other matters, City Council will consider setting July 21 as the date for a  public hearing to consider designation a reinvestment zone for the Downtown/Lamar State College-Port Arthur area.
The designation would allow the city to grant a tax abatement to the developer of student housing.
Council will also consider amending the city’s uniform tax abatement policy to allow tax abatements for smaller manufacturing concerns.
Port Arthur currently has an abatement policy geared for large industry — those companies investing at least $100 million in Port Arthur.
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