Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Skate park closure gets attention of teens, parents

Cleanup day Saturday from 3-5 p.m.


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

A 24-hour closure of the Hailey skate park last week led some skaters and parents to share ideas at a City Council meeting Monday on how to reduce vandalism and bullying at the popular site.

Some of these concerned citizens will meet the mayor for a casual talk on the topic during a skate park cleanup day Saturday, April 21, from 3-5 p.m. The public is asked to bring rakes and work gloves to help clean up the park for summer.

The park was closed from Thursday at 8 p.m. to Friday at 8 p.m, by Mayor Fritz Haemmerle, after trash was dumped there and a sign was removed Wednesday night. Haemmerle called trashing the park an "egregious" transgression.

The vandalism followed a visit the day before by the mayor to show skaters photographs of garbage that had accumulated around the park and inform them about their duty to keep the park clean. Last Monday, Haemmerle announced that the park could soon be closed after metal sculptures at the park were found vandalized.

It took four years and $500,000 to build the original Hailey Skate Park, at the southern entrance to the city. The full-radius pipe at the park is described by Thrasher magazine as "the first of its kind to be built in over 25 years west of the Mississippi."

In 2003, world champion Tony Hawk brought skaters Bam Margera, Shaun White, Alex Chalmers and Ryan Sheckler to the park to skate its "baby-smooth, concrete tall walls and a kooky layout," Thrasher reported.

In summer 2009, skaters almost lost access to the park when bullying and vandalism caused the City Council to threaten its closure. After cracking down on two miscreants and calling for more parental supervision at the park, the atmosphere changed. City voters raised taxes a year later to expand the park, making more terrain for beginners.

<

But vandalism last week resulted in the park's first actual closure.

"I will continue to close the park if this continues," Haemmerle said Monday. He said parents had told him they were afraid to leave their kids at the park because of the threat of bullying.

"We can't have intimidation," he said.

Mark Spencer and his son Elk, a fourth-grade skater from Hailey, showed up Monday night in response to the closing, offering the mayor and council some ideas for dealing with the trash.

Elk Spencer said kids who hang around at the park but do not skate are the true culprits, leaving trash on the ground and turning the place into a "junkyard."

Mark Spencer told the mayor that the park was unfortunately commissioned without a management plan and that relying on kids to manage it themselves was not realistic.

"Supervision is the No. 1 thing," he said.

Spencer advised establishing a subcommittee within the city government to oversee the park.

He said a similar effort has been undertaken at the skate park in Ketchum, where the Ketchum Parks Department holds competitions and is familiar with the kids who use the park.

Spencer also advised the mayor that the public art at the Hailey skate park should perhaps be moved elsewhere, as most skate parks are designed to be "bombproof."

Haemmerle thanked the Spencers for their ideas and said he looked forward to gathering more information at the cleanup day Saturday.

"I'll be there working, too," he said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.