SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Skate Park
By Connie Williams


July 31, 2010

Is the Borough experiencing the same song and dance about a skate park as it did in 1997-1998? Lots of folks, talking to assembly members and parks and recreation staff about the importance of supporting the youth and giving them something to do. Government officials were hearing it in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. The problem I saw was you had many folks in favor of the project, but in reality, only a few, by comparison actually utilized the facility for what it was intended.

The existing skate park was constructed with the last remaining funds from the bond that built the recreation center, which is now paid in full. The total cost of the skate park was under $100,000.00.

One of the hardest parts of having a skate park is the noise, vandalism and attempting to keep users safe. When the skate park first opened, we had numerous complaints from surrounding neighbors about the noise at all hours of the night. We finally installed a high fence that could be locked at dusk and placed our custodial staff on a graveyard shift to avoid night time noise and vandalism. Who is going to maintain it? One letter suggests that Parks and Recreation would. Parks and Recreation does not have maintenance staff. The Borough does have a Public Works Department, however, what kind of liability is the Borough willing to take on?

I would suggest that if this group is serious, they form a non-profit organization and negotiate with the Borough to lease land, say out around Ward Cove and the group can attempt to obtain the funding through grants and donations to construct it, and user fees to maintain the park.

Connie Williams
Tahuya, WA

About: " 45 year resident of Ketchikan. Former Gateway Recreation Center Supervisor - during the construction of the current skate park."

Received July 30, 2010 - Published July 31, 2010


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