Monday, May 17, 1999

Police to keep eye on roller rink

Neighbors say Fun Factory a nuisance

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — Police here will increase patrols around the Fun Factory roller skating rink, following complaints from neighbors about rowdy, noisy teens and other problems.

        Safety Director Mark Pottebaum said Friday he has instructed police to beef up patrols and strictly enforce litter, noise, parking and juvenile curfews.

        The action comes in the wake of a petition signed by 87 neighbors of the roller rink and presented to city officials by Councilwoman Ruth Cain, who represents the ward in west Norwood where the rink is located.

        “Residents have been dealing with this situation for three or four years now,” Ms. Cain said. “It's to a point where they are getting fed up with loitering, with Fun Factory patrons walking down the middle of Sherman Avenue to Montgomery Road to catch a bus, littering and shouting obscenities along the way.”


        Ms. Cain admitted the problems occur outside the rink and that the owners hire off-duty police and provide security. There have been no significant problems reported inside the facility, officials said.

        City Service Director Gary Hubbard said many of the problems are at their worst on special “Skate-a-Thon” nights, when hours are extended. Also, private parties at the facility may last well into the night, he said.

        “The question is: What can we do to remediate this problem?” said City Law Director Timothy A. Garry Jr. “We do not have the ability under Ohio law to close the rink. As far as I can tell, it is zoned properly.”

        Mr. Garry, who also recommended enforcement of existing laws to help control the situation, said the rink's owner, Allen Leonard of the Dayton, Ohio, area, has met with city officials and offered to try measures to solve the problems.

        Attorney Marc Mezibov, who represents Mr. Leonard, said the city's juvenile curfew hours will be posted inside the rink. He said the business has approached Metro to see if a bus stop can be added outside the facility.

        The curfew prohibits minors under 16 to be out, except for special reasons or with parents, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Teens between the ages of 16 and 18 must not be out between midnight and 5 a.m., officials said.

        Mr. Mezibov said Mr. Leonard intends “to try to continue to work harmoniously with the city and arrive at an arrangement that is responsible and fair” to the community and his business. Baker Street resident Ralph Krumme, 45, said he doesn't “want to necessarily try to close this guy down. Skating is fun. It's somewhere for kids to go, and they need that and it is his livelihood.”

        But Mr. Krumme said cars are double-parked, music is loud, obscenities are shouted and idling cars are so numerous it has taken him 15 to 20 minutes to get out of his neighborhood to visit a convenience store. “It's people milling around outside. People actually overrunning our neighborhood.”

        Betty Smith, 53, also of Baker Street, described similar problems. “Those people should obey the law as we do. All we want is peace and quiet and law and order,” she said.


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