|Obion youngsters, parents pushing for skate park
|Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:04 pm
|By KEVIN BOWDEN
Complaints from youngsters that there’s nothing to do are not uncommon.
In Obion, a movement is under way to start a skateboarding park for the town’s youth.
A group of more than 20 adults and youth (mainly youth) attended Monday night’s Obion City Council meeting to lobby for a skate park in town.
The message was loud and clear from the group — the town’s youth have been unfairly labeled as troublemakers when all they want is a place to hang out and ride their skateboards.
“They’re just trying to stay out of trouble and do something they enjoy,” said spokesman Shauna Jones.
The group had tried to address the council at a recent meeting, but was turned away.
“I think that was wrong,” Ms. Jones said.
However, Monday night the group got its chance to speak to the council about the need for a skate park.
Ms. Jones said the town needs a facility like the skate parks in Dyersburg and Paducah, Ky., but on a smaller scale.
“A skate park is not just for skateboarders,” she said.
One of the youngsters at the meeting stood and attempted to educate the council on the elements of a skate park, using such terminology as a funbox, half-pipe, quarter-pipe, a speed ramp and a launcher ramp.
Although it appeared the terminology soared over the heads of the council members, it was apparent there is a willingness to work with the skate park advocates.
In addition to Ms. Jones, Mandy Correa also spoke out on behalf of the youth group. She spoke passionately about the need for such a facility for the city’s youth.
Council member Mike Miller suggested the group draft a proposal for a skate park and submit it to the council.
“We can do that,” replied Ms. Correa. “We’ll do some research.”
Mayor Glen Parnell even suggested possibly using an area in the city’s ballpark.
One of the issues that will have to be addressed relating to a skate park will be liability insurance. That is already being looked in to by a city official.
At Monday night’s council meeting, a unanimous vote of confidence was given to the skate park project.
A second issue relating to youth surfaced at Monday’s meeting — a conflict between youngsters riding dirtbikes around the north side of town and residents of that area.
Again, Ms. Jones and Ms. Correa represented the youth group. They said recent complaints are unfair and said the young dirtbike riders have been “wronged” by the accusations that have been brought against them.
They took issue with recent charges of property damage and disturbing the peace that have been leveled against those youngsters who attended Monday night’s meeting.
“We just want to make it known these are not bad kids,” Ms. Correa said.
She described the accusations as “unfair” and pledged to keep a watchful eye on the youngsters riding their dirtbikes and four-wheelers in town.
The issue of skateboarders, dirtbikes and four-wheelers took up nearly half an hour of the council’s hour-and-15-minute meeting.
During the discussion Monday night, it was revealed a lot owned by the Habitat for Humanity organization is being used by the young bikers and four-wheelers. The groups were scheduled to meet this week with a representative of that organization to discuss the issue of the lot being used as a track for dirtbikes and four-wheelers.
“We’re not going to give up on this,” Ms. Correa told the council.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.23.12