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PIONEER PARK OFF-LIMITS TO THE PUBLIC AFTER DARK

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It's official: Pioneer Park no longer will be open to the public after dark.

Tuesday night the Salt Lake City Council approved closing the park from 30 minutes after sunset to 7 a.m., as requested by Police Chief Ruben Ortega. The new hours take effect June 15.Like most other city parks, Pioneer Park has been open until 11 p.m. and after 5 a.m. Ortega asked the council for the night closure to aid officers who patrol the area.

The park, 300 W. 400 South, is not equipped for after-dark activities, Ortega said.

A curfew allows officers to order people from the park without first having to determine if they're engaged in illegal activities, which is more difficult at night.

Closing Pioneer Park at night is the latest effort by the city to reclaim the historic site. Until late April, the park had been overrun with drug dealers, their clients and transients.

In April, police increased patrols at the park and cracked down on illegal activity there. The added attention worked, driving out dozens of people who frequented the park daily.