Damaged town property believed to be caused by Parkour.
Parkour, an activity gaining popularity among youth nation-wide as well as locally, was one topic of discussion at the most recent Fowler Town Council meeting. Defined by Merriam-Webster, parkour is “the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing, or leaping rapidly and efficiently.” Trustees voted on Jan. 27 to adopt an ordinance making parkour illegal on property owned by the town of Fowler. Ordinance 693-14 reads, in part, “It is unlawful for any person to run, climb, swing, vault, jump, roll, engage in quadrupedal movement and other types of movement, often referred to as the practice of Parkour, free running, and l’art du deplacement, on or upon personal property located on any property owned or controlled by the Town of Fowler, Colorado. Personal property as used in this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to tables, benches, bicycle racks, fences, railing and play equipment.” This decision was based on damage found to property owned by the town, primarily in Gerard Park. According to Fowler Police Officer Jacob Freidenberger, “Several people came forward stating they had witnessed local teens jumping off of and onto the benches located at the park. Damages to the permanent benches were found, including damage to a bench designed to accommodate those in wheelchairs. As a result the bench is no longer ADA compliant and it is estimated that the town will have to spend approximately $1,200 to repair the damages.” However, Freidenberger assures citizens, “Our intent is not to keep the kids from having fun, but to prevent further damage to city property and to ensure that everyone has the ability to use the amenities at the park as they were intended. Those found to be practicing parkour will not be prosecuted unless their actions could be reasonably calculated to cause property damage.” Town Administrator Dan Hyatt adds, “We know kids in town are not doing it out of malicious intent, but property is being destroyed and we have to protect it.” Hyatt goes on to acknowledge parkour is a fun activity and it’s not in any way being viewed as criminal mischief or vandalism. “We understand there is no intent to destroy property. This ordinance simply gives the police department the authority to prohibit parkour on city property.” More about parkour * The term “parkour” originates from the French phrase “parcours du combattant” describing a classic obstacle-course method of military training. *Participants aim to traverse between two points in the most efficient way possible. This is done by using the momentum of their bodies to propel from surface to surface. *Parkour can include a variety of actions ranging from running, jumping or climbing to vaulting, rolling and swinging.