Reality Check: Bay Skate and Bike Park

To skate or not to skate, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the noise and disruption of outrageous skate parks, or to take arms against a sea of "thrashers." Paraphrasing Hamlet brings us right up to date relative to the current situation regarding the Bay Skate and Bike Park.

The United States was directly involved in World War II from December, 1941, through August, 1945, a total of 3 years and 9 months. As of this month, skate park discussions in Bay Village government circles have gone on for more than two years longer than U.S. involvement in WWII. That seems a bit extreme, don't you think? The original group of middle-schoolers who were involved in the initiation of the skate park project are now well into their college careers. Time to inject some reality into this situation:

There is a small group of residents who don't want a skate park at all. Their reasons vary from noise to community image to an influx of "outsiders." Skate park outsiders are viewed as long-haired metal heads who will undoubtedly seek to corrupt innocent youth by playing heavy metal on their boom boxes and firing up doobies on a regular basis.

The other side of that particular coin is the group of skate park advocates comprised of potential users, their family members, and other residents who think the community should offer a venue for skate park enthusiasts. That is a significantly larger group than the "just say no!" folks, but is not in and of itself a particularly large group. The largest group of residents who have an opinion are not opposed, but are concerned about location.

City officials are going to have to make numerous decisions relative to a potential skate park. The mayor, city council and planning commission members generally express support of the concept, but I can assure you that there is considerable variation in the degree of individual support. That has been one of the major delaying factors to date. 

The central issue is and has been location. The latest enthusiasm seems to be to locate the skate park in Bradley Park. Bad idea. Very bad idea. 

Bradley Park is largely surrounded by private residences, which are in close proximity to the park's amenities. Once the nearby residents become aware of the current notion, many may oppose the concept. Additionally, the location on the extreme west end of town may not be well-received by park-supporting east-enders. Finally, Bradley Park is pretty well-hidden from the view of passing vehicular traffic, including patrolling police cars.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the logical location is on Wolf Road just west of city hall in front of the youth center. Advantages: noise isn't going to bother homeowners or businesses, high visibility and easy policing, central location, safe access with traffic lights and crosswalks at Dover Center and Cahoon roads. Disadvantages: Cahoon Park location precludes Sunday use. I guess I would present it to the supporters as a simple decision: A six-day-a-week skateboard park, or no park at all.

Let city officials know your views, help them with their decision.

Tim Maloney is a former Bay Village resident who lives in Avon Lake. 

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 6:42 PM, 02.01.2010