Monday, March 26, 2007

Tarentum Skateboard Park locked

Today the James E. Wolfe Skateboard Park in Tarentum was locked. A sign on the gate announces: "Closed Indefinitely Due to Filthy Conditions [signed] Tarentum Borough".

Here is the story behind the closure as I understand it. Some visitors to the park have not shown respect for the rules, and even became rude and belligerent with borough officials when asked to clean up the mess. At the same time, some of the local skateboarders have been very ready to clean up the park, regardless of who caused the messes.

There was also allegedly an incident last week in which advertisements for a local business were affixed to many pieces of equipment in the skatepark.

The Tarentum Recreation Board recently gave authorization to the Borough Manager to lock the park if the conditions continued.

On Thursday of last week I heard about this brewing controversy and checked out conditions in the park. The offending advertisements had been removed. The park was clean, open, and in use.

I checked again on Saturday, and found the park still open, neat and clean.

Apparently, the Borough Manager found filthy conditions this morning and proceeded to lock the park and post the sign. When one of the local skaters learned about the lock, he hopped the fence and cleaned the park.

When I checked this afternoon, I found an immaculate park, padlocked closed, with the sign on the gate.

I'll post my photos later when I can download them from my camera.

It seems to me that no one is enforcing the rules against those who violate them; instead, all skateboarders are prohibited from using the James E. Wolfe Skateboard Park because of a borough response that is far too broad and severe.

When someone litters in Riverview Park, no one talks about posting signs that the whole park is closed to everybody. When a dog owner walks a pet through Riverview Park, no one talks about closing the park to everybody. But when someone spoils the skateboard park, no one gives a local skateboarder even the time to get in and pick up someone else's mess; instead, the park is closed to everybody.

After visiting the skateboard park, I walked through part of Riverview Park. There was more litter in the kiddie playground being used by toddlers and their parents than I saw at the skateboard park.

Not fair.

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