- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - Some visitors to Saginaw’s Ojibway Island say police-imposed restrictions to boost safety at the popular spot are too much.

Those who went to the island on the Saginaw River were surprised to see a new entrance sign announcing that vehicle traffic is prohibited after 4 p.m. on Sundays, The Saginaw News reported (https://bit.ly/1E7Gofa ). The issue may come up at the City Council meeting Monday.

The restrictions follow complaints about large groups of people on the island causing problems involving alcohol, loud music and cars. Saginaw police Detective Sgt. Reggie Williams said the new rule is an effort to help manage large crowds on the island.

“I see something is happening in Saginaw that’s not good,” said Irie Sample, 45, who’s been coming to the park since the 1970s. “It’s like they are trying to push the minorities out,” said Sample, who is black. “First it was the businesses and clubs and now it’s the parks.”

The police department said it’s not targeting any specific group. Blacks make up about half the city’s population.

“The park is not closed,” Williams said. “No one is prohibited from entering the island. They are more than welcome. There will just be no vehicular traffic.”

Saginaw’s Chief Inspector John Stemple said the decision was not his department’s call, but that he has heard complaints. “There were things that shouldn’t be happening at the park,” he said, including motorists doing doughnuts on the grass.

The rule change at the park follows the city’s decision to shut down two nightclubs following a triple-shooting outside of one of them. Pamela Sangster who owns Terry’s Place, a club that was shut down, said authorities should be able to deal with any complaints about behavior on the island.

“And if they don’t follow the rules, they get fined or thrown out,” she said. “Try different solutions before just shutting it down like that.”


Information from: The Saginaw News, https://www.mlive.com/saginaw

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