Loudon prohibits swimming at Riverside

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

Loudon City Council members, fearing a child will drown, have decided to prohibit swimming off the Riverside Park boat dock.

The board unanimously passed the resolution to prohibit swimming Monday. Some discussion of the topic had arisen at the April 9 workshop meeting.

Councilman Lynn Millsaps said that he had received complaints about young people swimming unaccompanied by adults.

"There are 8- to 10-year-olds using the dock as a diving board and that is very dangerous," Millsaps said at the workshop. "It is a situation of small kids with no guardians there. What can we do to prevent some kid from getting hurt?"

The area has become well-used by fishermen who attempt to pull up in their boats and can't dock because children are in the way, Millsaps said. "It's not a boat dock anymore. It's a fishing pier."

"Some kid is going to drown. It's going to happen," Councilman Jimmy Parks said in response to Millsaps' comments. "The parents don't care or they would be there with them."

On Monday, City Manager Lynn Mills brought the topic up again, saying the city faced liability if they did not take action. "This resolution gives the police department the ability to require them to leave if they are caught swimming there," Mills said.

Millsaps made the motion to prohibit swimming. "I think this is a huge safety issue," he said.

"Our insurance people said that once it is discussed, it is a non-issue - we need to take action," Mayor Judy Keller said. "The parks probably can't stop them from swimming, but if we put up signs, at least their parents will know."

In other action, the board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the replacement of a handheld communication radio system from Cartwright Communication Technology, Inc., at a cost of $6,476.98.

The city safety services, police and fire, are required by the Federal Communications Commission to go to a narrow band spectrum effective Jan. 1, freeing up radio wide bandwidth frequencies for telecommunications.

A resolution approving the low fuel bid of Rogers petroleum of $27,209.20 was accepted. A recreation department vehicle, a 1999 Ford Windstar van, was declared surplus.

The board, following pre-meeting public hearings and on second reading, finalized:

● An ordinance prohibiting parking on Osborne Street.

● An ordinance removing one on-street parking space on Grove Street at the Wharf Street intersection. Mills said the parking space was too narrow and vehicles parked there were forced to pull out in the intersection.

● An ordinance amendment allowing sale of beer at certain special functions in Loudon Municipal Park.

The board adopted on first reading:

●  An ordinance vacating a closed section of Matlock Bend Road in the Tennessee National Subdivision.

● An ordinance providing for annexation, zoning and a plan of service for a parcel of property belonging to Scott Newman.

● An ordinance amending the zoning map to rezone 1.05 acres on Highway 72 belonging to Grayling Littleton from R-1 low density residential to C-4 Interchange business district.