Hartford official banning sports in Bushnell Park - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford official banning sports in Bushnell Park

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Hartford's parks director is cracking down on the use of Bushnell Park for athletic activities.
    
Public works employees and police have been breaking up Ultimate Frisbee and soccer games, which have become popular lunchtime and weekend activities in the park near the state Capitol.

Kevin Burnham, the park's director says the park is intended for "passive" use and the players are tearing up the turf with their cleats. He says those who want to play sports should go to Colt Park, which has about 100 acres of athletic fields, but requires a permit and reservation for organized sports.

"We don't consider this an organized activity," said Dave Olymer. "Whoever is available comes out and plays. It is unorganized and some people just having fun."

The city has asked the players to take their games to more appropriate locations in the capital city such as Pope Park.

"We appreciate the opportunity to use another park," said Carol Smith. "But, we work here and it really is a pickup game. And with an hour lunch or less, it is really not a possibility."

Hartford police ended the game on Wednesday afternoon and asked the players to leave.

"We will work through the channels that are out there to come to a reasonable solution," Olymer said.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said he wants to meet with Burnham to discuss the issue and does not want to "overregulate" something that draws people downtown.

"The only thing that we ask of any group that wants to do an organized sport or activity in the park is to apply for a permit," said Segarra, who took a few tosses with the players. "It allows us the opportunity to be fair to everyone that wants to use the park."

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