Signs in Boca parks are confusing visitors with regulations that seem to prohibit most behaviors typically enjoyed in public recreation areas. But while rules forbidding “organized group play” or teaching on park grounds sound draconian, these regulations (and the signs that list them) are not new.
“The verbiage can lend itself to confusion,” says Boca councilman Andy Thomson, but these signs have been hanging in Boca parks for months and the regulations are standard for most parks in the state and the country.
“I think it either lead to some residents stopping doing what they were going to otherwise do or it may have been a situation where a ranger told them not to do stuff that is plainly allowed,” says Thomson, but that any such instances were “a function of a misunderstanding.”
Literally read, the rules seem to encompass much more than the original intent of the regulations, which was to prevent space being used by professional trainers and sports leagues rather than the Boca residents whose taxes paid for the parks to be built.
“What we’re talking about is professional trainers making a livelihood off the use of our free parks,” says Thomson. “If you’re going to be charging people and using our property for it, you gotta get a permit, that kind of the point.”
Thomson says that the signs will be replaced in the coming weeks, and that Boca residents should not be dissuaded from enjoying recreational activities in parks.
“We want people to use [the parks],” says Thomson, “That’s why they’re there, we take recreation seriously in Boca.”