With security and planning adjustments prepared for the second installment of Movies in the Park Wednesday night, organizers hope to cut back on those citizens who gather merely to hang out in the park.
Metro Parks and Recreation Director Tommy Lynch said his department will start treating Movies in the Park as a major event, and Centennial Park would basically be dedicated to the movie screening.
While normal park goers there to use the dog park or walking and running trails would still be allowed to do so, security would ask those present in the park just “to see and to be seen” to move along.
Last Wednesday, sometime after the Movies in the Park season premiered at the band shell in Centennial Park, a 15-year-old Goodlettsville boy — whom police said was supposed to be under curfew as part of his Juvenile Court probation — was shot in the knee.
Police said a large group of teenagers gathered near the steps of the Parthenon had been throwing gang signs at each other. That, according to police, may have been what led to the shooting, which followed shortly afterward.
There were also reports the park saw other disruptions that were unrelated to the movie viewing.
This week Lynch said the Movies in the Park viewing area would be expanded and more clearly defined using portable fencing to set it off from the rest of the park.
At the first event, approximately 30 officers from Metro police and Metro Parks police — including mounted patrol, plainclothes officers, ATVs, police lookout tower personnel and a mobile booking unit — were on duty. Lynch said the same force would be on hand Wednesday night.
In addition, the parks department has adjusted the vehicle traffic flow plan as it does for other major events in the park. There will be a one-way entrance on the 25th Avenue side of the park (across from Centennial Sportsplex) and all streets in the park will be one-way.
Before and until near the end of the movie, the only exit will be on Park Plaza. After the movie, barricades at other exits (except on West End Avenue) will be removed to ease traffic flow out of the park.