We had a birthday party at the park at the end of the street. I made the arrangements for us to rent the pavilion for four hours, which is a blog entry of its own. Anyway, we rented it from 3 to 7 on Saturday and it cost $40.
Kate drove by there about 10 am and some people were setting-up for a party under the pavilion, so she didn't think much about it since it was five hours until our party would begin, but she made note of it.
Fast forward to after 1pm while Jack is napping and we have finished all the prep work for the party. Kate asks me to go down to the pavilion and check on the people that were there before. I drive down and, of course, they are all still there. So I walk up and inquire about how long they planned on being there. There is a lady who looks to be about 35 that the others deferred to, so I figure she must be the leader, or at least the only one who can speak semi-fluent english.
She says that they were thinking about staying until 5, she estimates. I let her know about our party and that we actually rented the pavilion, this is a surprise. She asks if I did it through the Fairfax Park and Recreation, I correct her and tell her the City of Fairfax Park and Recreation. She looks at me a little confused. Apparently she didn't know she was in Fairfax City and not Fairfax County.
She asks if I have paperwork and I tell her I have a receipt. A guy speaks up and says, how about we stay until only four, maybe five. I tell them that they are putting me in a bad position and this is not a negotiation. I came down early as a courtesy so that this wasn't a surprise when we show up an take the pavilion that we had rented (and they had not).
Another guy says something that was hardly intelligible, so I say "excuse me?" and he shuts right up. I was outnumbered about 30 to 1.
I just restated that I would be back at 3, with the receipt and all my stuff, so it shouldn't be a surprise and hopefully they could be wrapping up their party by then. They had used the pavilion for four hours already and maybe we could use it as well - especially since I had gone to the trouble of renting it.
3 rolls around and they are still there, but I brought the dog with me along with the party stuff. "Bobbi-Boo" is a very friendly, happy dog, she is great with kids and will usually disarm people with her wagging tail and happy disposition. The kids immediately were drawn to the dog and the other party-goers were at ease. They moved from under the pavilion and went to a nearby tree to finish their party so I could set-up and put out all our stuff. Everyone else arrived a few minutes later and the party went great.
I offered the other group one of the picnic tables since we wouldn't need all of them and they were more than glad to make use of it. I don't think there were any hard feelings, but I sure do wish the city would do a better job of letting others know about the rental schedules, like tacking up a notice or something.
I have a few more suggestions for Parks & Recreation department, too.