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Franklin - Parks in Franklin will are now open from dawn to dusk, replacing the previous park hours of 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

The common council approval to change in September, and the new hours started going into effect in October.

Superintendent of Public Works Jerry Schaefer said this change gradually went into effect as parks officials changed park signs and updated the city's website.

The Parks Commission has been considering this change in hours since fall of 2015 because the past 12-hour time frame allowed people to be in the parks well after nightfall during fall and winter.

"There’s been a lot of issues at Franklin Woods regarding ... people being there really late at night. We just want to be able to have something that says it’s dawn to dusk (and) dawn to dusk are defined," Alderwoman Susanne Mayer, member of the parks commission, said.

In addition to this issue, Schaefer said, most of the parks do not have lights, so it is unsafe for residents to be using playground equipment or doing anything else at the park at night, simply because it is harder to see.

In February, the city of Brookfield changed their parks hours to dusk to dawn, as well, in order to prevent issues resulting from visitors being in the park after dark such as noise, vandalism, and loitering.

"(After dark) it doesn't seem like people need to be there. It seems like that could create problems somewhere along the line," Schaeffer said.

The past hours also, according to the commission's report, prevented residents from using the parks for a significant number of daylight hours in the morning. During the summer, sunrise can be as early as 5:15 a.m., adding almost four hours to the park's hours.

This change in ordinance does not affect the time that parks facilities, such as restrooms and pavilions, are open. If residents have permits to use a park facility, they are able to use that facility for the length of their permit, even if the permit extends past dusk.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Recreation, dawn is defined as "30 minutes before sunrise" and dusk is "20 minutes after sunset."

In January, this new timeframe will make park hours approximately 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a full calculation of sunrise and sunset times, visit www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/milwaukee.

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