DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A curfew on privately owned sections of downtown Detroit’s riverfront is drawing attention following recent enforcement.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, which maintains a 5.5-mile stretch of the RiverWalk between Belle Isle and Cobo Center, requires visitors under age 18 who are on the property past 5 p.m. to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The general curfew for youth in the city of Detroit is 10 p.m.
It’s a policy the conservancy says it hasn’t been actively enforcing, but Detroit police have been.
Conservancy spokesman Marc Pasco said the curfew began in 2010, and details are posted on signs at the RiverWalk. Pasco said the curfew is on the books for authorities in the area to enforce if necessary.
Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens said officers aren’t specifically assigned to the RiverWalk, but they will patrol the area at the request of the conservancy. She said curfew violators could be asked to leave the premises or face a ticket for loitering.
While everyone agrees the RiverWalk should be kept safe and enjoyable, Mack Richards of Canton said you can’t target just kids.
“I don’t think that’s reasonable at all, I mean, a 17- or 18-year-old isn’t going to be walking around with their parents, it’s not going to happen,” said Richards.
The curfew has sparked complaints from some who say it discourages people from enjoying the riverfront. Others say its unfair that the curfew punishes a whole group of people just because a few teens might misbehave.
“I think that if kids are at the RiverWalk, we know where they are. It’s when they’re in the street when it’s a problem,” 20-year-old Myriha Burton, a Detroit native, told The Detroit News.
However, some feel that the curfew is necessary to keep the riverfront enjoyable for everyone. A parking lot attendant, who did not want to be named, applauded the curfew, saying “you don’t want to know what goes on down there.”
Whether a stretch of the RiverWalk is private or public depends on the location. The RiverWalk runs through several state- and city-owned areas, but also includes private property, such as the GM Plaza.
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