Edgerton skatepark coming back

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Friday, May 11, 2012
— Edgerton's mothballed skatepark is making a return, but not at Central Park, its first home before complaints over vandalism, behavior and noise at the park led to its removal in 2010.

The city's Parks and Recreation Committee on Thursday voted to reinstall the park at Racetrack Park on the west side.

The decision came after a recommendation by city staff to move the skatepark.

City Administrator Ramona Flanigan told the committee that of the many reported complaints that led to the skatepark being removed from Central Park—including vulgar language, spray paint graffiti and skateboarding after curfew—the overriding complaint was over noise from the park's three metal skate ramps.

"Skateboarding is a very loud sport. No matter what else you say about it, it is loud," Flanigan said. "It's a loud activity no matter how well you're behaving."

Flanigan suggested the city put the skatepark's three ramps at an entertainment pavilion at Racetrack Park on a 2,100 square-foot concrete pad that holds an aging food stand the city plans to remove.

Flanigan said Racetrack Park is a better location because it is farther from residences than Central Park.

The pad at Racetrack Park is only about one-quarter the size of the skatepark pad initially poured at Central Park, but city officials said it has enough space for at least two of the skate ramps, even if the city does not immediately remove the food stand.

Workers will install the ramps by late May or early June, said Public Works Director Tom Hartzell. He said the ramps will be removed during festivals and functions at Racetrack Park.

Flanigan told the committee that city tax levy funds and developer fees could be used to build a new pad if the one at Racetrack Park doesn't end up working for skateboarders.

Laurie Larson of Edgerton was at the meeting Thursday with her son, Tyler Larson, who is a skateboarder.

When officials asked Tyler at the meeting if they would like the skatepark reinstalled at Racetrack Park, he shrugged and nodded.

"I guess it's OK," Laurie Larson told The Gazette. "But then it means more expenses if they have to do a new pad sometime. They already have a perfectly good pad at Central Park."

The skatepark has been stored at the city garage since May 2010, when the city council voted to remove the park following a rash of vandalism and complaints over behavior and noise from residents near Central Park.

The city had spent $2,500 in tax revenue and $17,500 from city developer's fees for the $37,000 skatepark, which was completed in 2009.

The park also was paid for by a parents group who raised funds for the park and offered to chaperone skating there.

The Edgerton Parks and Recreation Committee had put the skatepark on its agenda for discussion this past September at the request of two youths, but it tabled discussion on the skatepark until spring.

Mike Shumaker of Edgerton, who said he donated resources to pour the original skatepark pad at Central Park, opposes moving the park.

He said Thursday that he believes that the committee had its mind set on a Hobson's choice for the skatepark—put it at Racetrack Park, or nowhere at all.

He said people who donated for the concrete pad at Central Park probably won't appreciate it being decommissioned into nothing but a parking lot.

"It's sort of like politics as usual in Edgerton," Shumaker said.

Last updated: 8:36 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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