Efforts to protect families at Memorial Park snowballed Wednesday as the Waynesboro Borough Council discussed a broader ban on sledding.
After some deliberation, the council unanimously placed a ban on sledding at Memorial Park until early February while the borough staff reviews safety options. That decision was tied to concerns about sledders hitting a new fence at the park.
“I’m concerned someone is going to be injured,” Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.
Some borough officials expressed worries about similar problems with a fence at Northside Pool, which has a hill adjacent to it.
Councilman Craig Newcomer said he recently watched sledders near the Northside Pool fence and thought about a fatal sledding accident at Hooverville Elementary School. In 2007, Amanda K. Bowders, 19, died after her sled hit a pole supporting playground equipment at the school east of Waynesboro.
Councilman Wayne Driscoll made the motion to temporarily ban sledding at Memorial Park because of the new, permanent ball field fence there. He said he was not ready to include the Northside Pool area in his motion.
“I think for the time being we shouldn’t broaden this to Northside. ... I hate to restrict all the simple pleasures in life, like sledding down a hill,” Driscoll said.
Memorial Park’s new fence was part of $90,000 worth of improvements at the park, Hamberger said. The old, damaged fence had a gap for sledders or could be removed, he said.
The new, solid fence, which was bent by sledders after recent snowfall, is safer for ballplayers, according to Hamberger.
“To protect one group, we have to cut back on the activities of another,” he said.
Sledding at Memorial Park has been a longtime tradition in town, Councilman Mike Cermak said.
Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Benshoff said that sledders around Northside Pool not only hit the fence, but they also cross the parking lot and its large rocks.
“I know they’ve been doing that for years, but all it takes is one time and someone’s killed,” he said.
Solicitor Sam Wiser recommended to council that a permanent ban carry a penalty and be enforced.
Council members said they plan to talk about the issue at upcoming meetings.