Park ordinance sent back for revisions

A proposed ordinance making it illegal to take deer antler sheds or pick a flower in Elk River city parks without permission has been sent back to the drawing board.
Council members felt the ordinance was too broad, and wanted to rein it in.
As initially written, the ordinance would make it illegal to “deface, remove, alter, cut, injure and/or destroy any tree, plant, flower, grass, rock, soil or mineral within a city park,” unless the city gave permission.
It is similar to what other communities have enacted and seeks to get at a problem of people digging up plants in city parks and taking them home for their own gardens.
Council Member Matt Westgaard said he understands the need to keep people from taking trees and plants.
“But the way this is written, you pretty much can’t touch anything in a city park,” he said.
Council Member Paul Motin also said it seems like overkill.
“Somebody picks a flower and gives it to somebody who is right there — hey, it’s romance,” he said.
Council Member Jerry Gumphrey said in his opinion if someone wants to take the antlers that have been shed by deer in a city park, that’s not an issue.
City Attorney Peter Beck said the city staff will rework the ordinance to tailor it to the council’s comments and “let the antlers go.”
The revised ordinance will be considered by the council at a later date.

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