By: Jen Russon
Through the power of the pen, a Coral Springs resident took his grievance over the restrictive use of open fields in the city’s parks and succeeded in getting the commission board to reevaluate its permit policy.
Scott A. Teschky submitted his letter to Coral Springs Talk in December, asking the mayor, vice mayor and city commissioners to ease restrictions preventing the use of training equipment without a permit.
He expressed frustration, not so much over the $41 per hour fees to use open field space, but over having to request a permit in the first place.
“We are not using the whole field,” Teschky argued. “This cost is excessive, given the limited space that is used. We are told if you have a personal trainer, they need insurance and a permit.”
Serving as senior project manager for Ft. Lauderdale, Teschky lives with his wife, Michelle, and son, Collin, in Kensington. The family visits the city’s 48 public parks often, as Collin plays football and regularly trains to stay competitive for the Panthers at the city charter school.
Teschky challenged the commission board to reconsider the city’s liability should someone get hurt in one of their parks, stating there is no clear distinction between the risk of getting hurt on the playground or a pick game, which has always been allowed to take place without a permit.
Thanks to Teschky’s tenacity, the city acknowledged his point.
City commissioner Joshua Simmons said the issue was immediately raised with city staff, and they made a commitment to resolve it.
“We wanted to make sure more fields were available for open play. We wanted to make sure residents have access to the new turf fields. We also wanted to deter outside groups from other cities taking up field space from residents because we had the cheapest rental fees in the area,” said Simmons.
Deputy City Manager, Melissa Heller confirmed that a resolution had been reached and that she appreciated residents like Teschky opening up a constructive dialogue.
“We did not issue Mr. Teschky a permit to use our city’s fields with his family. Instead, we determined residents can utilize open fields with traditional training equipment, including balls, cones, and ladders,” said Heller.
Heller also said the city arranged for park staff to keep the lights on until 10 p.m. nightly on open fields.
“With the installation of artificial turf fields throughout our parks, we do request residents using kettlebells, weights, or heavy equipment to do so on natural grass fields,” added Heller.
The equipment available for use without a permit includes footwork ladders and hurdles, parachutes, leg bands, cones, and other standard training aides that every athlete uses to improve in their chosen sport.