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CITY ESTABLISHES SKATE PARK RULES

Workers put the final touches on the center bowl of the soon-to-be completed skate park. ().
Workers put the final touches on the center bowl of the soon-to-be completed skate park. ().

While work continues on Brookings first skate park, members of the citys Skate Park Committee Thursday unanimously voted to restrict the use of the facility for safety reasons and to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

The advisory committee decided to stick to its original goal of allowing only skateboards and in-line skates on the new skate park at Bud Cross Park.

Committee chairman Russ Johnson said he understood that BMX bicyclists wanted to use the skate park, but there were several reasons to restrict use.

It was for skateboards and in-line skates from the beginning, he said.

Russ added that project designer and coordinator Mark Scott, of Dreamland Skate Park Design Team, said he preferred no bikes because they damage the concrete.

He designed it for boards and skates, Russ said. And we have been saying from the beginning that having bikes on the park is a safety issue. Two bodies colliding is different from a bike and body colliding.

Committee member Buzz Hansen said damages done by the bikes could be a problem. Once you gouge the concrete, its very difficult to fix right.

The two dont really mix.

City Manager Leroy Blodgett said skate parks in other communities have different policies regarding bikes.

Most all the parks we visited didnt allow them, he said. Some allow bikes, but Im not sure how they control the situation.

Johnson said the committee wasnt trying to be discriminatory toward bike riders.

This whole thing is not prejudicial against bikes, he said. This is set up as a skateboard park.

Some parks are set up special for bikes. Im not trying to be against bikes, and I wasnt against them until I talked to Mark about the damages to the park.

Johnson said when bikes crash they slide across the concrete and gouge the surface while skateboards either roll on their wheels or slide on their wood surfaces.

Blodgett said it was important to remember that the individual who anonymously donated $100,000 for the project did so to build a skate park, although the city manager thought the donor wouldnt necessarily object to bikes being allowed.

Committee member Sandy Hislop suggested that local bicyclists may want to work toward their own park.

I guess well just have to get another committee going and get a bike park, she said. We were building a skateboard park.

This is not a bike and skateboard park. But its nothing personal.

The committee also decided to require helmets at the park and to strongly recommend the use of knee and elbow pads.

This is one thing that Mark Scott recommended, Blodgett said, and its what they do at Grants Pass.

If we require helmets, city personal will ask users to leave until they put on a helmet.

If offenders repeat not using helmets, they could be forbidden from using the park for a extended period of time.

Other rules the committee adopted for the skate park include:

Forbidding the placement of obstacles, jumps or other materials on the skate park surface.

Warning of the danger when the surface is wet.

Forbidding food or beverages on the surface of the skate park.

Prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, drugs or profanity at the park.

Notification that users use the skate park at their own risk.

Notification that the facility is not supervised.

Blodgett said city staff would have a sign designed with the skate park rules and regulations, and bring it back to the committee for its approval at the next meeting.

Ordinances governing the use of skateboards and in-line skates in the City of Brookings should be seriously considered, Blodgett said.

Once the park is built and open, he said, the community will be expecting some level of enforcement of skateboards and in-line skates outside of the park. We need to look at ordinances.

We need to draft some kind of ordinance to take to the (city) council. If we dont do something like that, people will be upset.

Johnson suggested that, in drafting an ordinance, to remember it would be important to define the difference between the use of a skateboard for transportation and just doing tricks. He said many skateboarders use their boards to get back and forth to school and other places.

Blodgett gave the committee members some sample ordinances from other communities to review.

The skate park construction is progressing well, Blodgett said.

The project should be complete sometime in early December, he said.

The Skate Park Committee will next meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the council chambers at Brookings City Hall.

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