The Denham Springs City Council will host a potentially contentious public hearing next month on the use of a city park.

Council members on Monday agreed to hold the forum during their May 12 meeting at which they will decide whether to allow bikes and other nonmotorized wheeled vehicles in Willow Wood Park.

“... (I)t is clear at the time of the park’s creation the citizens living in The Willows were divided over the issue, and it was the subject of much debate,” city attorney Stephanie Hulett wrote in a letter to the mayor and council members urging them to hold a hearing before voting on the matter.

According to the city’s website, which calls the area Willow Woods Park, the 11-acre park is accessible only through The Willows subdivision.

Hulett wrote that the land for the park was donated in 2007, and before construction began, neighborhood residents sent letters asking the park be off-limits for bicyclists. The neighborhood homeowners association conducted a survey and found some homeowners who wanted to allow bicycles, while “many were strongly opposed,” the attorney wrote.

The matter will be discussed at the next city council meeting at 6 p.m. in the Denham Springs Municipal Building.

In other business, the city voted to seek $4,500 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to cover half the cost of buying a dozen new bullet-proof vests for city police.

Councilman and former police chief Jeff Wesley said that, in addition to normal wear and tear, officers’ sweat breaks down the protective material, and Kevlar vests have to be replaced when they expire after five to seven years.

The city also gave noise variances to a pair of Mexican restaurants for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

Papi’s Fajita Factory on South Range Avenue and La Carreta on Veterans Boulevard are both permitted to host parties in their parking lots on May 5 until 10 p.m.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.