Worries over an increase in police calls and crowds of unsupervised teens have prompted the parks department and sheriff's office to ban parking in the Mills Park lot on Seely Loop for high school students attending classes.
"Parking at the park was never designed for the school's parking or apartment parking," said Roger Moellendorf, Carson City Parks and Rec supervisor. "The parking lot is for park users only. If they are in the park using the facility, that's OK."
Sheriff Kenny Furlong suggested the park is a popular parking spot for Carson High School students because it lets them avoid the $25-per-semester fee to park in the school lot.
Moellendorf surmised the kids feel they can get away with things at the park that they couldn't on school grounds.
Whatever the motivation, after winter break the free ride is over.
"The intent is to reduce problems, the fights and violence that have been going on in that area," said Furlong, who noted there were 100 calls for service at the park since Oct. 30. "The folks who are parking over there are not necessarily the problem, but they add to the mix."
An example, he said, is if a passerby reports seeing a fight, they report "a hundred kids" involved when it's really just two kids fighting as others are walking to their cars.
Furlong said the goal also is to reduce the number of students sauntering across Saliman Road during breaks and before and after school.
While some of the foot traffic is for kids to hang out at "smokers corner" in front of the park's Wungnema House, the other portion is making their way to cars there.
Furlong said because it's not illegal for minors to smoke or possess cigarettes, just to purchase cigarettes, he can't go after the kids that use the area for smoking.
"Foot traffic across Saliman is one of the major complaints we get here," he said. "Kids are crossing one at a time, and unduly delaying traffic intentionally."
So come Jan. 6 when classes at the high school resume, if you leave your vehicle at Mills Park to go to classes, you might suffer the consequences.
"Any (student) car that's parked over there will be red tagged for tow," said the sheriff.