Friday, August 7, 2009

Skatepark needs adult supervision

Hailey needs to provide adult supervision at its skate park and perhaps at Hop Porter Park during peak hours.

The City Council recently considered closing the $500,000 world-class skate facility because of vandalism and bullying.

The council is now looking to security cameras as a solution. It has also asked parents not to drop kids off and leave them unsupervised at the park.

Security cameras may help, but they were not the solution to vandalism at Hop Porter Park, where graffiti is a recurring problem. Cameras were disabled and spray paint applied in spite of them.

Hailey has invested heavily in park facilities as a service to families and kids. The city prides itself on being a good, safe place to raise a family, but it needs to back up the pride with a little more money.

Hiring one or two temporary supervisors for the busy summer months at the parks wouldn't break the city's budget, especially in these days of high unemployment. Hiring parks supervisors would benefit kids at the skate park, provide employment for people in need of summer jobs and help protect the city's considerable financial investment in the parks.

At the very least, Hailey should put together a cadre of volunteers to supervise the skate park.

Hailey families have exhibited a strong desire for supervised parks programs, as demonstrated by the fact that fully 126 kids, or 33 percent of the total number in Ketchum's Parks and Recreation programs this summer, are from Hailey.

With just a small investment in people, the city could make the parks safe for kids of all ages and live up to its reputation as a great place for families.

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