Skaters want park to get wheels

May 05, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

It's become a civics lesson.

Teenagers gathered outside city hall Tuesday for a rally. They held hand-painted signs, some mounted on handlebars and broomsticks, to get their slogans out: "Have a Heart Build a Skatepark," "Stop Putting Us Off" and "Build It."

The athletes have turned activists.

David Trizna, 14, was there wearing his Eisenberg Skate team T-shirt. He and his family just moved to Danville from Eisenberg, Texas.

He said he was excited to move here because his family saw on the Internet that Danville was working on a skatepark. When he got here Trizna was disappointed that it wasn't built.


"We skate all around Danville, but we get kicked off wherever we go," he said.

Most downtown businesses have forbidden skating on their properties, and it is illegal to skate on city sidewalks.

"As long as it's built, I don't care where they put it," Trizna said.

Commissioners disagree on wear to put the park

Commissioners have already approved $45,000 for equipment, but disagree about where to put the park. Commissioner Jamey Gay, who has led the movement, favors Jackson Park because there is already a concrete tennis court and gates that could be locked at night. The park would not be lit.

If it isn't built on that concrete pad, Gay said that the entire park budget would be eaten up by the price to lay concrete.

Other commissioners have said that they won't vote to build at Jackson Park because neighbors have told them they don't want to live next to a skatepark.

Bob Bootes lives in the neighborhood around the park. He said he isn't against the skatepark, but thinks that Millennium Park would be a better spot, even if it would be more expensive.

He said that Jackson Park already has vehicle traffic problems, and there aren't sidewalks leading into the park. Bootes has already called police four times this spring about reckless drivers and speeders there.

There has been some vandalism there, and Bootes thinks the city shouldn't put in equipment, worth thousands of dollars, and then have it vandalized.

About 50 skaters hear company's sales pitch

On Tuesday, Gay and about 50 skaters gathered to hear a Somerset company's sales pitch for equipment approved by a notable Pennsylvania skatepark camp, Woodward.

Its equipment is padded with recycled plastic, so that it is quieter. The 3-D sketch of the proposed Danville park, with $37,000 worth of equipment, had five grind rails, three quarter pipes, a spine and a fun box. The skaters got drawings, so they could suggest layouts for the park.

Even benches and picnic tables from the company are built to be skated on.

Chris Jackson, 11, said the ideas for the park were "tight."

"I think it's going to be cool," said Landon Ford, 11.

The company does a community build, so that skaters and their parents can help put it together.

Centre students are interested in skating

Centre student Cole Henson said many of her fellow students were interested in skating. Although she isn't a skater yet, she said if the park comes she would convert.

"There are tons of students at Centre that want these kids to have a place to skate."

Henson spent a semester in Mexico, and much of her free time there at skateparks. She said that from her room there were three skateparks within walking distance.

"I saw how much the people used it as stress relief and how much joy it brought them, I want these kids to have that, too."

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