PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — In an effort to increase safety in Palm Beach County, commissioners unanimously approved an amended change to the county's parks and recreation ordinance.
Officials said the revision will strengthen provisions related to children's safety on playgrounds at county parks.
Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth announced this week that the new regulation prohibits adults 18 years or older from entering or remaining in a designated children's play area unless the adult is supervising and/or accompanying children that are 12 years old or younger.
"Public safety is always a priority, especially when it comes to our children, so I am pleased with this added layer of safety at county playgrounds," Weinroth said.
Everyone is still welcome at county parks, but the playgrounds and splash pads are off limits to adults without a child.
Feelings about the ordinance are mixed but most of the parents that WPTV spoke with Thursday believe the change makes safety a priority and eases their concerns.
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"I don't think an adult should be sitting here watching my child run and play in the water or even on these playgrounds," mother Ale Goodwin said.
"It seems pretty logical if you don't have a kid," father John Dipalermo said. "I don't see the need to hang out at an area where kids are playing. I think most parents would be on board with that."
At John Prince Park near Lake Worth Beach on Thursday, Isabella Gomez was working out in the fitness zone and spending time with the kids from her neighborhood.
Because the fitness zone is not a children's space, it's open to everyone.
Gomez is a Lake Worth High School senior and just months away from turning 18 years old.
She is not pleased to know certain play areas will be off-limits.
"I don't really agree with it," Gomez said. "Everyone could come here to the park without having a kid."
Commissioners said they made the change after hearing concerns from parents.
"It makes me feel a lot more comfortable, a lot safer," Goodwin said.
County commissioners said that people who violate the rule will be asked to leave, but if the situation escalates, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office will get involved.
The new ordinance is expected to become effective in the next few weeks upon its filing with the secretary of state.