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New hours for greenspace parks readjusted

FORSYTH COUNTY — Less than a week after approving new hours for greenspace parks, Forsyth County commissioners readjusted them.

During a work session Tuesday, the commission voted 5-0 to lengthen the hours for the county’s “passive” parks, or those which don’t include any active athletic facilities, to 6 a.m.-7 p.m. from Nov. 1 to March 1, and from 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. March 2 to Oct. 31.

Among the parks impacted are: Chattahoochee Pointe, Ducktown Community, Haw Creek, Sawnee Mountain Preserve, Windermere and Poole’s Mill.

Active use parks with athletic facilities will keep their current hours of 7 a.m.-11 p.m., while U.S. Army Corps of Engineer lake parks will also maintain their day use hours of 7 a.m.-10 p.m., with boat ramps open 24 hours.

During a regular meeting on Aug. 21, commissioners gave final approval to new set hours for the parks, which previously had just been open during “daylight hours.”

Parks and recreation department staff, however, said park rangers believed those hours were too vague and impeded their ability to properly protect the parks during night hours.

Under the initial change, the parks wouldn’t have opened until 8 a.m. and closed at 6 p.m. during the late fall and spring months. During summer and early fall months, they would’ve closed at 9 p.m.

But several commissioners said Tuesday that they had “received numerous complaints” about the new hours, particularly since the Big Creek Greenway.

“A lot of people like to go run or walk at 6 or 7 in the morning, so they’d like to see earlier hours, especially for the green way,” said Commissioner Todd Levent. “It’s not the evening hours that are a problem, it’s the morning hours.”