Why don’t we have a skatepark?

This morning, I was sitting in my car and looking at the field beside Asylum that’s being transformed into more ballfields. It’s a good spot for some fields. I have no problem with them.

But it got me thinking about how decisions get made about what to fund and what to ignore.

I assume that Little League and other organized groups pushed for more fields because they’re needed. I’ll give them that. Politicians feel the pressure and respond, recognizing that many hundreds of votes could be lost or won by approving fields.

So how do you ever get a skatepark?

Skateboarders are numerous, but not organized. They have few adults who will lobby for them or help them raise money. They have nothing but a need.

The town, of course, brushed that need aside in favor of golf courses, ballfields and even a mini-golf course that it hopes to make money on (boy, I know I feel pretty good hearing that my town government is getting into the Putt-Putt business – maybe a town pawn shop is next?).

My concern, put a little more directly, is that politicians put our efforts and our money behind projects that clearly please voters, such as these ballfields. They don’t see — because there’s no organized way to make them see — that other projects, from skateparks to putting nets on the basketball courts at our schools, will also benefit a lot of people, maybe even people who need the help more.

I really think that one big test these days of whether a town government is looking after its residents is whether it has a decent skatepark or two for its young people to use.

I hope our town officials will think about the choices they’re making. 

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13 Comments

Filed under ballfields, baseball, Parks, Skatepark, Town government

13 responses to “Why don’t we have a skatepark?

  1. Joe Visconti

    We had a Skate park behind the Y on North Main street before it downsized into an office. Read the towns website under Leisure services for their plan.

  2. David A.

    I am a young adult and enjoyed skateboarding at one time in my life.
    Skateparks are expensive
    they are expensive to build.
    They are expensive to maintaine
    They are expensive to insure.
    You must watch out for Criminal activity when you have a open 24/7 non-supervised skatepark.
    Skateparks stayed maintained and drug free when the town charges for use of the park.
    On the lighter side, skateparks are excelent places to send kids instead of letting them skate the dangerous streets or on private property.
    Kids enjoy all aspects of skateboarding from the hand rails to the Vert ramps so please include all styles of skateboarding.

    • dave

      you are wrong, for insurance it does not cost a dime, but you have to put up a fence and close it up at night and put up skate at your own risk signs. And its not expensive to maintain. depends on what you get, concert is barley any maintaining and if you go with a metal ramps same thing. and just bc you open a park doest mean there is going to be criminal activity, learn the facts

  3. I’ve been told that a new, good skatepark would cost less than $250,000 to construct and would take little to maintain (though I’d also support a more elaborate skatepark that might cost more). From what I’ve read about other towns’ skateparks, there is no additional insurance cost.

  4. Joe Visconti

    Newsflash:Urban Warfare

    Maybe the Department of Homeland Security can sponsor and train Skateboarders to become Second Responders, in area’s where bikes and Horses can’t negotiate in case of emergency ( I rode the last horse in town to combat the Belgian intruders, tough going up New Britain avenue to main street). The Russians in WW2 had Ski Units.
    How about Harley’s and Skateboards working together? Oooh I like that, lets get an insurance quote first.
    Just thinking outside the box.

  5. Rick Liftig

    For those of you who haven’t seen these words in awhile, here’s the real deal:

    ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8

    The Congress shall have Power:

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress….

    ARTICLE II, SECTION 2

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States….

    He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

  6. Rick Liftig

    There is a nice review of the constitutional question of war powers on this site:

    http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/warandtreaty.htm

    (University of Missouri – Kansas City – School of Law)

  7. Rick Liftig

    Ooops… those should be posted as replies to the Larson blog entry. I don’t think that we’re ready to declare war on skateparks. But then again…. we could probably make the skateparks a beacon for democracy.

    I can see them tearing down the statue of Noah Webster now….

  8. Creating a skatepark can be an excellent idea for a community if it is approached in a thoughtful manner. As someone very interested and invested in emergency medicine and injury prevention, I see it as a location for targeting injury prevention messaging for our youth who skate. Kids will skate whether there’s a skatepark or not, why not create a venue where we can embark on some injury prevention education and positive behavior modeling.

    For more information on skatepark development, check out this link to Portland, Oregon’s famous Burnside Skatepark…this includes a documentary around its birth and sustained success.

  9. Erik Lindblad

    I have been skating for one year now and I think it would be great if we had a skatepark located at Fernridge Park. There is enough field space to have a decent sized one, and theres things to do after like swim or play tennis. I know a bunch of people that would love to have one is West Hartford, and would use the skate park a lot.
    Thanks.

  10. I am a skateboarder from west hartford and I have a small bit of news for all of you. My friend, who is 12, had the police called on him for skateboarding at blueback square. while he was in the police car to be taken home, he overheard the woman who called the cops say to the policeman: “thank you so much for cleaning this punk off my roads.” last time I checked, you clean up DIRT. you do NOT CLEAN UP PEOPLE! with all this being said, this woman felt my friend to be dirt. I am a skateboarder. am I, an a+ student, dirt, simply because i skateboard? is that the world i live in? the town tried to pass building a mini golf course. kids dont want to play mini golf, their parents want them to like it. should the kids get what they want, or should the parents get to have their perfect little dream kids??? to top it all off, playgrounds are far more dangerous than all areas upon which skateboarding is done. skateboarding has about one fourth the amount of DEATHS that playgrounds cause. don’t illegalize skateboarding if you’re not taking out the main source of the deaths in recreational play. skateboarders are not risks to people around them. we are not little punks who run around trespassing, doing drugs, and graffiting things. we are kids who want to have fun and be ourselves. is that a crime? is being who i am a crime for which i can be arrested? thanks for hearing me out.

  11. anonymous skater

    i agree. all of us skaters just want a place to have fun. our boards are not fast enough to go on roads, and we are too fast for sidewalks apparently. I have no idea why we have a bad reputation. when was the last time a skateboarder harmed someone? maybe we just need a law saying that skaters need to yield to pedestrians when on the sidewalk. Im fine with that. if anyone would be willing to donate some money to build a skatepark all of us skaters here in west hartford would really appreciate the help. Im not sure where to donate for this, but im guessing you would just bring it up to the folks down at the town hall.

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