Last night the Tarentum Council held its monthly meeting and took important actions to move forward with the proposed skatepark. Beginning at 6:30 the meeting took 48 minutes to complete its work.
The meeting began with a moment of humor as the roll was being called. When Police Chief William Vakulick's name was called, I heard the mayor say what sounded like "Taken prisoner." With visions of a secret hostage situation in this tranquil riverside borough rising in my mind, those on the council were clearly doing a double-take as well, so the mayor explained that the chief was taking a prisoner to Pittsburgh.
At the time of citizen comments there was an extended conversation about a meeting of select business owners that had taken place recently, with questions about why only certain businesses had been invited.Councilman Bill Rossey explained that a number of such meetings were still to take place. I was a bit puzzled when he described a meeting in 2004 as having been poorly attended. I had been at that meeting, had met a number of new people, and had thought that the group was an adequate size for a useful sharing of information.
There was a specific citizen concern raised about pellet guns allegedly being sold to young people from the junk store at the corner of 4th and Corbet. That store sells a lot of potentially dangerous items (some that appear to be collectibles), and the possibility of these items coming into the hands of children is a serious concern. The police confiscated a number of pellet guns from children over the last week.
When the council came to the part of the meeting for acting on the proposed skatepark, I was surprised to notice that none of the skateboarders were present. There had been a number of them at the committee meeting the previous week, and they explicitly had been invited to come to the council meeting when actions would be taken and their input would be needed. For some reason, none were present.
Council President Magnetta reported that the county had given permission to the borough to relocate the skatepark project, so the borough council voted to move the project to the Dreshar Stadium Recreation location. Now that the location is settled it is possible to start designing the skatepark. The intention has been all along for the skateboarders to be involved in the design of the park. In January Council President Magnetta asked for names and telephone numbers of interested skateboarders to be provided to him so that he could work with them. So far no names have been submitted. It would be a real shame if the local skateboarders allowed the project to lose momentum by failing to participate in the planning process, especially when it is now so close to coming into reality.