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8/16/2016 7:07:00 PM
Skate park days may be numbered
Eric Fisher

Days may be numbered if you're wanting to do an alley-oop, acid drop or a kick flip in Wilmington.

City aldermen could soon declare the skate park surplus property and have it taken down. While that may result in a loss for those skilled at performing tricks on skate boards at the Children's Memorial Park feature, city administrator Tony Graff said the time has come.

"In the skate park world our equipment is outdated," Graff told members of the city's Buildings, Grounds, Parks, Health and Safety Committee last week.

"Instead of the modular equipment like we have up there for skate boarders, most skate parks in the area are concrete in nature with bowls and transitions. Their concrete construction makes them safer and can be used by bicyclists too."

This isn't the first talk of closing the 12-year-old skate park. Last August a handful of nearby residents petitioned the park district and city to move it from Northcrest park to the island parks. Neighbors say the skateboarding feature saw heavy use the first couple of years, but now, there's a notable age difference between users; 10-year-olds playing where 16- to 18-year-olds hang out.

The neighbors didn't like the teen attraction from the start, and once it opened, reported that the noise was insufferable and the teens using it had filthy mouths that kept families away.

But a group of teens who used the park urged aldermen not to close it last August. They talked of taking responsibility for maintenance, improvements and policing themselves. The city offered them a chance to prove it.

"We haven't had any activity from the youth who spoke up," Graff said. "And now there is a significant cost factor for improvements. It still has some value but at this point we have to look at determining it as surplus and remove it or spend funds to fix it up."

The committee agreed the surplus property route may be the best option. Once a resolution is passed, the city crew would remove the equipment and decide what to do with the asphalt area. Graff said the resolution needed to be drafted before any action would be taken.

In other business before the committee:

• The desire to lease or rent the former Park District office/garage on the South Island park, property owned by the city, has resulted in more questions than answers.

Graff reported that Pam Tharge, building inspector and code enforcement officer, found that certain parts of the building do not meet code.

Except for the garage portion, the building has been unoccupied for two years and damage has occurred. If it's too costly to repair, Graff said aldermen may have to decide the least expensive option.

Graff said cost estimates were coming.

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Article comment by: JB

Us teens who spoke up felt it was unnecessary to raise money just so they can silence the skatepark. If we were going to come up with the money we wanted a brand new park and that was not promised. Removing a skatepark will cause a lot more destruction around the town. Skaters no longer have a place to skate so then we take it to the streets in places where we aren't allowd to skate.

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