Council mulls changes to Rec Center rentalsPublished 5:38pm Thursday, July 25, 2013
After three incidents in just over a month at the Dadeville Recreation Center, the city council continued discussing how to keep gatherings there from getting out of hand.
Sunday night, with a noon-to-midnight family reunion reserved for the facility, officers received a call near 11:30 p.m. reporting underage drinking, possible drug use and physical altercations. Officers said they estimated more than 100 people inside and outside the city-owned property, and there were broken bottles littering the grounds inside and outside. Someone was manning the door of the recreation center, charging $10 per person for entry.
It was the third time in just over a month that police had to be called to the recreation center. On June 9 there was a report of gunfire during another crowded gathering, and on June 16, officers were called to reports of a fight, which led to third-degree assault charges brought against one woman.
Robin Reynolds, the city attorney, said he was concerned about the liability issues the rowdy gatherings create.
Police Chief David Barbour suggested limiting events at there to daylight house, since “they seem to turn it into a nightclub.”
Reynolds said he hated to change the police “at the expense of good renters, but it creates a problem for the entire community.”
He worried the problems would escalate and become more frequent as football season approaches.
Councilman Mickey Tarpley said they could require the person who rents the recreation center, especially after dark, to accept civil or criminal liabilty for the actions of their guests. Or, they could be required to pay for the services of private security.
And he worried about the DPD’s ability to handle crowds so big, but Barbour said their cooperative relationships with surrounding agencies could certainly quell any disturbance there.
Barbour noted that in some of the instances, the person who originally rented the place and planned the event was nowhere to be found when police arrived.
“Sometimes it’s goo dpeople who rent it, then someone else takes over, starts charging admission and serving alcohol,” he said.
Council members agreed to take consider the issue and language in the existing ordinance. Reynolds said he would prepare some proposals for possible amendments by the next council meeting.