Skate park reopens full time | RecordCourier.com

Skate park reopens full time

by Maggie O'Neill, Staff Writer

Nearly as many young kids and parents were at the skate part across from Lampe Park as teen-agers Wednesday morning.

When two teen-agers skating at the park D Jeff Hilderbrand, 16, and Jim Greco, 17 D said everyone is being punished by the afternoon closure of the park due to a grafitti incident, it’s clear it’s not just teens.

A Douglas County Parks and Recreation official appeared every day this week from 3 to 5 p.m. to prevent use of the skate park by all. The skate park opens today with no afternoon closures.

Three areas of the skate park were tagged D jargon for spray-painted with graffiti D in brown paint and cleaned up by Wednesday, after about 10 hours of labor, said Douglas County Parks superintendent Craig Burnside.

“This kind of activity will not be tolerated. (Skaters) need to understand they are policing themselves, and are responsible for taking care of the park,” he said.

A Douglas County Parks Department worker discovered the graffiti Saturday morning. The graffiti is believed to have occurred between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Saturday morning prior to 8:30 a.m.

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Hilderbrand and Greco think a California skater tagged the park.

“They’re punishing everyone else,” Greco said. “It’s a public facility. They don’t close down school when fights occur. They don’t close Lampe Park when there’s graffiti.”

A facility closure policy passed by the Parks and Recreation Commission this summer allows director Scott Morgan to make decisions about fights, property destruction and graffiti at the park.

“Everyone’s pissed,” Hilderbrand said. “Some kid traveled from out of town yesterday and couldn’t skate because the park was closed.”

The skate park will return to normal hours D open all day, every day D today.

“Skaters love (the park),” Burnside said. “It is undoubtedly the most heavily used park facility we have. It has decreased vandalism in other parks, where it has gone down dramatically.”

Since opening in the spring of 2001, the skate park has had only minor graffiti incidents, he said.

“There has been a lot less than anticipated,” he said. “Skaters use the park 12 months out of the year. In baseball fields, you’ll see dads playing with their kids even after the season is over. (Skaters) use the park even in the dead of winter.”

n Maggie O’Neill can be e-mailed at mo’neill@recordcourier.com