Give skate park some more time

Editor:

After years as just a dream, the Sweet Home skate park opened early this summer.

The youth park has been packed full of skateboarders and bike riders of all ages since opening day.

The concept was to provide a safe place where young kids could go, free from the dangers of the street. Along with the anticipated users, other less harmonious groups have gravitated into the park as well.

Bored youth, drugs and vandalism are nothing new to Sweet Home, but now they have a new address. This influx of intimidating ?non-skaters? has gradually pushed out many of the younger park users.

In addition, the kids the park was built for are being told to ?clean it up? or risk losing the park. They are currently cleaning up after themselves and the park?s other users, sweeping the concrete skating surface when a broom is available and encouraging each other to keep the language clean.

However as minors, there is a limit to what they can take on. Many adults would think twice about crossing some of the ?kids? that have made the park home.

The Sweet Home Police Department took a solid first step for the park and the kids with its recent drug raid.

There is talk that the School District may be able to help out with supervising personnel or a video monitoring system. More parents at the park would cut down on the drug use and bully behavior.

The Sweet Home youth skate park sits on School District property that is nearing the end of its one-year lease to the city. Understandably, the School District has been watching the loitering crowds, vandalism and the recent drug bust with much concern.

While these problems are not the best incentive for renewing the lease, these are the types of issues that will require more time and effort to work out.

With the lease issue looming ahead, what the skaters and bike riders of Sweet Home need most is for the School Board to step up and renew the land lease.

This would keep the skate park open and allow the city, police, schools and individuals the time they need to work on the different problems.

The skate park took many years to put together and most likely would not be attempted again any time soon. A large project like this is an investment in the future of this community and one that we should not turn our backs on.

This is their field of dreams. It would be a shame to let them down.

Dean Crandall

Sweet Home

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