County to ban swimming/alcohol at Laughter Pond

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, June 19, 2008

Polk County commissioners are currently researching a list of rules for Laughter Pond that will include no swimming or alcohol.

The county board of commissioners decided Monday to begin by placing signage to let residents know swimming and alcohol are not allowed at the county pond in Mill Spring. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of enacting an ordinance that includes punishment for the offenses in case the signs don&squo;t stop the activity.

Polk County Recreation Director Patty Aldred told commissioners that she&squo;s been made aware that people have been swimming and bringing alcohol to the pond. She also said she has personally placed two new locks on the gate there after people broke the lock to drive cars into the area.

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County attorney Tom Hix said currently there is no punishment for swimming and consuming alcohol there because there&squo;s no law prohibiting such activities, but county officials could place signs and ask offenders to leave the premises. The broken locks, he said, constitute damage to personal property, which is punishable by law.

Commissioners decided to start with signs, although Aldred indicated that could be a problem since there previously was a sign stating that alcohol is prohibited there, but it was removed. The county plans to gather suggestions regarding what rules are needed for the pond, which is a state-supported community fishing site. They suggested that rules also may be needed for loitering and littering, and agreed to make a final decision at their meeting next month.