CITY CRACKING ON ON SKATE PARK PROBLEMS

February 09, 2002 12:00 am

Brookings police officers are warning and issuing citations to misbehaving teenagers at Brookings new skate park and the city is considering installing a fence around the facility.

Ever since the skate park unofficially opened in December, city and police officials have received several calls a day from neighbors and parents concerned for the safety of children using the skate park.

Those reports include older teenagers pushing and intimidate young children, smoking, littering and playing loud music from cars.

About a dozen residents shared their concerns at Wednesdays skate park committee meeting.

I see a lot of kids with helmets and doing fine, but theres a good percentage of kids who have a bad attitude and are causing problems, said Jack Shuford, who live across the street from the skating facility at Bud Cross Park.

Theyre not following the rules, he said. Theyre using bikes and scooters. Theyre using it at night. Theres trash all over the park and the streets.

When I point out the rules to the kids, they take a bad attitude.

City Manager Leroy Blodgett said city police officers have started warning teenagers about their bad behavior, and have cited several for being in possession of tobacco.

I was hoping it wouldnt come to this, Blodgett said. If it gets real bad we might have to lock it up and control the hours.

Skate park committee member Buzz Hansen said he was glad to hear about the citations. Unless we put a little fear into them, it wont stop.

Committee member Russ Johnson agreed and said that a number of the trouble makers are not skaters.

There a good chunk of kids just hanging around being a nuisance, blowing smoke into little kids faces, he said. Hopefully the word will get out and it will stop.

Committee member Sandy Hislop was frustrated by the news. So many people have worked so hard to give something to this community and now these little creeps are taking it away from us.

Donations of nearly $120,000 in cash and materials enabled the city to build the skate park.

Parent Michael Kennedy, whose son participated in the committees effort to build the skate park, suggested the city install a fence around the facility like other cities have done.

In Grants Pass, they put a fence around the skate park and put the rules on it next to the entrance, Kennedy said.

Currently, rules for the Brookings skate park are attached on the wall of a nearby restroom.

Jeff Anderson, a skate boarder and substitute teacher for the Brookings-Harbor School District, said he talked with skateboard shop owners in Medford and Grants Pass who told him the fence and rules posted at the entrance of Grants Pass skate park helped curb problems.

Anderson said Brookings school officials are receptive to him giving a skateboard education class at the elementary and middle school level.

We would tell the kids these are the rules and here are the consequences if you dont follow them.

The committee endorsed the idea.

Anderson also suggested the idea of having an ambassador at the park during peak hours of use

Blodgett said volunteers may step up for the job, but the city couldnt afford to hire a part-time person and determining a schedule for that person would be difficult.

See Park, Page 2A