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Pomona may take the bounce out of some parks

City Council will vote next month on confining popular children's party attractions to eight of the city's 26 parks.

April 13, 2010|By Corina Knoll

Multicolored castles pumped full of air have become symbols of neighborhood festivities, but city leaders in Pomona say the inflatable bounce houses sometimes make for lousy neighbors and want to ban them from most city parks.

As kid-friendly as they might be, bounce houses often lead to parking congestion, litter and territorial disagreements in neighborhood parks where people tussle over the limited green space, city officials say.

Over the years, the popularity of bounce houses has risen in Pomona and other cities, where the giant jumpers are embraced as a fun and inexpensive form of entertainment.

"It's like a new toy for all the children," said Liliana Amiano, who owns Lea's Jumpers in Pomona and charges $55 and up for a rental.

The popularity of the bounce houses, however, has meant that neighborhoods around pocket parks are sometimes clogged with parked cars and that green space at the park is quickly gobbled up as structures are rolled out and inflated, said Ilona Arends, manager of the Pomona Community Services Department, which oversees the city's parks administration.

In some cases, turf battles erupt as park visitors without permits stake claims to space that should have been reserved for those with the proper paperwork.

Some residents have also complained about overcrowded parks, and city staffers have expressed concern about children's safety and damage to the grass and bushes.

The city debated banning the attractions from all parks, but Councilwoman Danielle Soto asked that residents without backyards be taken into consideration.

"I didn't want to rain on people's parade because of some people who choose to be reckless or not supervise their children," she said.

The ordinance, which will be on the May 3 agenda, is being amended to allow bounce houses and other attractions with the proper permits at eight of the city's 26 parks.

corina.knoll@latimes.com

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