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Some public use restricted as College of the Canyons steps up enforcement

Posted: September 21, 2013 6:12 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:12 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Officials at College of the Canyons have stepped up enforcement of existing rules barring some public use of the college’s track, a move that has drawn the ire of some Santa Clarita Valley residents.

Use of the track at COC, which encircles the football field of Cougar Stadium, has always been somewhat restricted, said college spokesman Bruce Battle.

“We look at it the same way we look at a classroom or the PAC (Performing Arts Center), the general public doesn’t have access to these types of facilities,” he said.

But the college has been taking greater steps to enforce the policy recently.

“In the past I think the access has been a little more uncontrolled, the gates would be open and people would take it upon themselves to come in and use the track,” Battle said.

Canyon Country resident Jeff Bomberger said he used to run at the track or up and down the stairs of the stadium frequently.

“But I went to do a workout (Wednesday) with a buddy and they came by and they kicked us out,” he said.

Bomberger has since started on online petition to try and urge college officials to allow public use of the track. That petition had more than 30 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.

Battle said the track is still open for public group use if people go through the proper channels to secure and schedule a time to use it.

This is to make sure the track and facility are open to students and classes that need it, he said.

“Our first real commitment is of course to students,” Battle said, “to make sure they have the best facilities and fields and track available to them.”

Another aspect of the decision, Battle said, is the cost of caring for and maintaining the facility.

“For us it’s really about taking care of the facility that we’re entrusted to be in charge of,” Battle said.

But Bomberger said he thinks the college could come to some kind of middle ground, perhaps by restricting the hours and days the track is open for individuals or small groups to use or using the parking fee collected by the college to fund maintenance costs for the track and stadium.

“What COC should do is come up with some sort of compromise, designate a window of time for use, explain the rules a little bit more and bring us access,” he said.
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