Woodward Park Changes

November 20, 2008 12:06:48 PM PST
The city of Fresno's parks and recreation department promises more events, including mixed martial arts at Woodward Park's amphitheatre in 2009.But expect some tougher rules when it comes to what you can bring to the outdoor venue. One of the most visible changes will be an extra 1,000 seats in the amphitheatre come January.

You'll be able to bring in backpacks but expect them to be searched. Mixed martial arts have been a big draw here at Woodward Park but with a new mayor may come a new home for cage fighting.

Whether you're a fan of cage fighting or not the show will go on at North Fresno's Woodward Park. At least for now. But expect tougher rules of conduct and what's allowed in the amphitheater at the next event.

"It actually is more restrictive than many other major cities around the state."

Along with no gang clothing or gang tattoos, Fresno City Council Members banned laser pointers, cameras with 3 inch lenses or longer and video and recording devices. Obscene performances are also out of the question but Parks Director Randy Cooper didn't define what's considered obscene.

Director Fresno Parks and Rec. Randy Cooper said, "If they rap on the radio they have to use non-profanity we want those events at our facilities where they use non-profanities."

Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd agreed that the city's policy on what's considered obscene needs to be flexible.

"So it's going to be on a case by case basis."

The council also approved $180-thousand dollars to build an extra 1,000 seats at the amphitheater. As for extra parking once the park is full Cooper says peticabs and other forms of transportation may be used as shuttles to the venue. The future of cage fighting inside Woodward Park may be in jeopardy now that there's a new mayor in town. On Monday, Ashley Swearengin hinted she may try to move the fights somewhere else.

Ashley Swearengin said, "I just think it's a conflict with the intent of the park and the open space and uses need to be in line with what the intent of those facilities are.

"We welcome anything the new Mayor will like but at this point in time we're following state and federal law, it's a state sanctioned event and it's a public facility."

These changes apply to all Fresno parks not just Woodward Park. Next month, the parks director will ask the city council to increase the amount of renting the amphitheatre from $500 to $1,500 dollars to cover clean-up and maintenance costs.

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