Janesville61.4°

Proposed ordinance forbids downtown skateboarding

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
January 21, 2008
— An ordinance that puts the downtown off bounds for skateboarders is back on the council table, but the restricted area is about half the size included in a proposal that was defeated in December.

Council members Bill Truman and Amy Loasching voted against the first proposal because the area then included such youth-friendly sites as the library, the bus station, YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville.


The vote was 4-3.


Downtown businesses had asked for the no-skateboarding zone because of damage caused to their properties by skateboarders. Some skateboarders use structures such as steps, benches and railings and stairs. After the first vote, Truman said he took another look at the proposed map.


“We had to try to protect the business owners but also have to look out for the kids,” he said.


Truman, for instance, didn’t understand why the boundary needed to extend along Main Street all the way to Racine Street. The manager of an apartment building in that area told him that building had few problems.


The new boundaries continue to include the three businesses where damage has been heaviest: 1 Parker Place; Bliss Communications, 1 S. Parker Drive, and M&I Bank, 100 N. Main St.


Those businesses estimate damage of more than $10,000 each.


The rest of the ordinance is unchanged.


It would:


-- Prohibit skateboarding on any street, sidewalk or other public property located within the area, except the bike trail.


-- Prohibit skateboarding on any private property unless permission is given.


The penalty for a first-time violation would be $10 to $20. Second and subsequent violations would be $25 to $50.


Police would be able to use the ordinance to address skateboarding instead of using other ordinances, such as disorderly conduct or trespassing, according to a memo by Peter Riggs, administrative analyst.


A reduction in skateboarding downtown would mean less property damage and vandalism and a safer environment for pedestrians, Riggs wrote.


PUBLIC HEARING

A public hearing on the proposed skateboarding ordinance is scheduled for the Monday, Jan. 28, council meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.



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