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Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015

Good luck to skaters, Park Board

Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009, at 3:22 PM

There were several comments posted online at the end of a story that touched on problems associated with the skateboarding area in the Worthington Park. I don't have the answer to solve the problem but I can answer a couple of questions that were raised.

One was are there trash cans available in the area? The answer is yes, plenty.

Is the area easily accessible? Very much so.

Is there adequate parking? Definitely. Nearby? Yes. Enough to discourage driving in and parking on the grass? Yes, there is really no need for any visitors to drive on the grass at this park.

Are townspeople aware of the damage that was done to the skaters' stuff during the flood? Probably not.

Would townspeople be willing to help repair or rebuild their ramps, etc., if more knew of the need? Probably some would.

Is it the town's responsibility to replace or repair the damage done? Don't think so. The "equipment" like rails and ramps are brought there by the skaters and are not provided by the town or the park -- it's their own contribution to the area which they leave there at their own risk. The concrete pad was paid for out of Park Board funds but the Park Board does not provide ramps or rails, etc.

Did the skaters work hard to build those first ramps and rails? Yes, they did. And I'm thinking of a couple in particular who spent their money on some new materials, gathered up some used materials and worked extra hard putting things together. Much of what they did was then lost to flood damage -- the area was underwater for days and soggy for much longer. It was a mess.

How did this skateboarding area come about anyway? It happened because members of the Park Board listened to the kids and supported them. When many others said it wasn't a good idea to put in a skateboard area -- that it would be trouble, the Park Board stood firm and spent a good chunk of money doing something for this crowd. They were willing to take the gamble.

But then later, there were some complaints and some problems. To me, it seems to be one of a "bad apple" or maybe a few "bad apples."

The park is a place that is shared by all -- it's a place for (as one poster put it) "blue-haired" people going to family reunions and club get-togethers, and guys playing a pick-up game on the basketball court, families with little ones on the playground, walkers of all ages getting some exercise, and skaters too. They've all got to get along.

I'm thinking the reason some people have soured on the idea of the skateboard area is not because of a little trash left behind or even a few ruts in the grass. I'm thinking the reason is because a bad apple said something, or did something, that made them feel so uncomfortable, they decided it would probably be best if they didn't walk in the park anymore.

I heard some stories of incidents and thought maybe the storytellers were exaggerating or just needed to be around teenagers more ... and then it happened to me. It was not good. I got a better understanding of why people are complaining. Now I see both sides.

I want the skateboard area to stay, but I don't ever want to have to run into that bad apple again. Sometimes it only takes one to ruin things for many.

Some comments warned against stereotyping skaters as being bad and pointed out that ball players (they mentioned Pacers) can be bad too. There's some great kids hanging out in the park -- it's not a stereotyping thing -- the area just happens to be a cool place and a couple of those apples like to go there.

Good luck to the skaters and the Park Board too -- I hope something gets worked out when they have their meeting. Skaters need a place to skate and hang out. And, walkers need to be able to take a peaceful walk in the park. And nobody needs bad apples.

Showing comments in chronological order
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Here's the problem the park board really faces:

The complaint of the kids parking in the grass is their own fault. They allow people to park in the grass in other areas in the park (I know I've seen it repeatedly for years). Family reunions, company parties, baby showers, garden club events...have all had people PARKING IN THE GRASS but nobody ever said anything. Now the kids have started doing it and since they use the park more than anybody else, they have worn a spot where they were parking. If you don't have complaints when adults do it, then what kind of example is the Park Board showing the kids. I've also seen parent after parent after parent pull into that grass area near the skate park to pick up kids or drop off kids or to check on their kid. Maybe they just need to put down some asphalt there and solve the problem. The park needs some asphalt work done anyway. I think it would probably be much more effective and useful to the community than all the pretty flowers and benches they think they need. Don't get me wrong, I like that the park has flowers and is pretty, but it's time they realize those kids need that spot. If it's to ugly, then maybe the park board should help them fix up what they lost in the flood. They could at least help them have some sort of fund raiser. I would definately attend.

I also want to say that I have seen those kids picking up trash before they leave at night over and over again. Just because a few stray kids can't behave in the park doesn't mean they should all lose the skate park. Most of the kids I've seen misbehave in the park were younger 8, 9, 10 years old. The kids that use the skatepark regularly are mostly high school kids. I've also seen the police check that area repeatedly to make sure the kids are behaving.

The park board needs to sit down with a few of the regulars down there and solve the problem. The regulars know who is misbehaving and causing problems. Eventually these older kids will grow up though and you need to realize that then a new set of kids will use the skate park who might not behave as you wish. Then you will need to repeat the process. It's called life...

I also think if the park board can't find it in their hearts to come to some sort of compromise with the younger generation then they have no business being on the park board. Parks are for everybody not just a selected few.

-- Posted by Polar Bear on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 8:06 PM

Maybe the skaters should figure out who is being the bad apple who is doing all the bad things to everyone and maybe have a talk with them let them know that their actiona are going to cost them all something very special to them

-- Posted by PROUD_MOMMY09 on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 7:27 AM

Its been several months now since the park board mentioned having a meeting with the youth of Worthington regarding the skate park, is there progress in this area or not? An offer has been made to the youth to refurbish all the skate park structures with donated materials and make it look appropriate to be placed in the community style park, but this will not happen if the park board can't come to an agreement on the status of the skate park I realize that there are many areas of legitimate concerns with having a skate park in the community park but for once lets give the kids some place they can use be safe and have fun, maybe even a place to laugh once in awhile, whatis it going to take to work together?

-- Posted by Once a Kid on Wed, Mar 18, 2009, at 8:25 AM

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Anna Rochelle is editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached on Facebook or by sending an email to indianarose@fastmail.us.