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Edgerton skatepark to stay in limbo

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Neil Johnson
September 15, 2011
— Edgerton’s skatepark will stay in limbo—or as it is, stored in pieces behind the city garage—unless residents show interest in re-establishing a skate park committee to chaperone the youths who would use it, officials said Wednesday.

The Edgerton Parks and Recreation Committee had put the skatepark on its agenda for discussion because two Edgerton youths had recently asked the city consider reinstalling it.

The committee tabled discussion because neither of the youths nor anyone else interested in the skatepark showed up to the meeting Wednesday, even though the city sent letters to the youths notifying them of the meeting, said City Administrator Ramona Flanigan.

The Edgerton City Council had decided to remove the skatepark’s three metal ramps and mothball them at the city garage in May 2010 after a rash of vandalism incidents at Central Park. The move also came amid complaints by neighbors about noise, vulgar language and bad behavior at the park.

Some neighbors complained the skatepark was attracting youths who used profanity. Others said they didn’t like the loud noise from the skatepark’s metal ramps, city officials said.

The problems came after the city spent about $2,500 in tax revenue and $17,500 pulled from city developer’s fees to pay for the $37,000 skatepark, which was completed in 2009.

The park also was paid for through fundraising by the Edgerton Skate Park Committee, a citizen group that pushed for the park. It had assured the city it would work to chaperone youths there.

But the group dissolved in 2010, shortly before the city removed the skatepark. Former members told the Gazette last year that the group fizzled under the strain of complaints from neighbors near the park.

Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Brent Harry said vandalism and bad behavior at Central Park subsided after the skatepark was removed.

He told the Gazette Wednesday that he would not recommend reinstalling the skatepark unless the community re-established a volunteer skate park committee that would agree to monitor activity at the park.

“Just leaving the ramps out there to be self-regulated has not shown to be an effective thing in the past,” said Harry.

Harry said it’s unlikely the city could afford to add police patrols to monitor a skatepark. He said residents would have to step up and form a committee. If that happened, he said he would be willing to talk about making the park work again.

“If we actually have interest that pops up in six months to a year—if we had the same kind of outpouring from the community as we did earlier, I can’t see us looking the other way at that,” he said.

Grant Mahr, 16, was one of the youths who asked the city to reinstall the skatepark. Mahr was one of the youths originally involved in the skate park project.

The Gazette reached Jeanne Purnell, Mahr’s mother, by phone Wednesday night. Purnell said she was aware her son had talked to the city but was unaware the city slated a discussion on the skatepark. She said she never received a letter from the city.

Purnell, an original member of the defunct skate park committee, said she’s not interested in forming a new committee herself because her sons will soon be past prime skateboarding age.

But she said she hopes other parents who see the merit in having a skatepark will get involved.

“It was such a nice feature for the city,” Purnell said. “It really was.”


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