As published in the Record Journal on Friday April 27, 2012
Without a skate park in Wallingford, skateboarders and bikers will continue to ride around town center and other public places. But establishment of one central location for these youths requires municipal dollars not expected to be available anytime soon. Outside fundraising, therefore, is necessary for completion of this worthwhile project.
In 2008, over 125 individuals attended a meeting in support of creating a skate park. People scouted locations and drafted designs, but after cost estimates topped $250,000, town officials applied the brakes to further efforts. However, many locals — including youths, who are also residents deserving of appropriate municipal accommodation — reasonably still want this facility added to Wallingford.
A park would reduce riders in other areas of town, a change which everyone likely would support. Eric Ferrauola, 13, stated that when he takes his bike to Wallingford locations with ramps and other features pertinent to his hobby, he often is met with complaints, or police who instruct him to leave (R-J, 4-17). “It’s hard to ride . . . they think we’re bad kids,” he lamented, a look into the unfair reputation which these youths encounter.
While bikers and skateboarders, overall, do not warrant such stigma, it is reasonable for fellow residents to prefer that riders not zip past them at fast speeds within community areas. Especially for older locals must proceed slowly and carefully, thinking that youths wheeling around rapidly could be a potential safety concern or public disturbance is understandable.
Thus, many people would benefit from a new facility. A town-owned, 6.11-acre Garden Road property is, reportedly, a prime candidate for the site. Onsite flooding issues apparently keep the parcel from containing larger structures, problems which obviously would require consideration before any construction.
But the chief difficulty thwarting a new park is finances, lack thereof. In a town long managed through fiscal conservatism, any project without municipal-government backing will eventually lose momentum. “The money is just not there,” argued Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. about a park.
Which is why this pecuniary obstacle actually could represent an opportunity for youngsters who would frequent a facility. They could band together and fundraise to afford equipment and other costs necessary to open and maintain a park. Moreover, facing an unfair, negative reputation, skateboarders and bikers could demonstrate in this undertaking that they are contributing, helpful members of the town.
We recommend that anyone who wants a skate park built in Wallingford collaborate in fundraising — doing so would display a dedication and community spirit which could get all residents onboard.