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Park Board asks: Is there any interest in skateboarding?


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Chesterton Park board member Ted Jacobs says he’s just about come to the end of his efforts on behalf of a skateboard park.

Jacobs issued a challenge to skateboarders and their parents at Tuesday’s park board meeting--either express interest and offer to help, or the idea will die.

The board has had one person show up to a meeting in favor, one against and has received exactly one letter in favor of developing a skateboard park.

Jacobs said he has been researching skateboard parks and making reports to the board, with coverage in the newspaper, for at least four months now with little community response.

“We’ve had no calls and no meeting attendance,” said Jacobs. “If there’s interest out there, it’s time to be letting us know,” he said, adding that in Valparaiso and LaPorte both, skateboarders ran fundraisers to help build those town’s skateboard parks.

Although those two towns report no policing or vandalism problems, both park superintendents said the driving force behind their skateboard parks was the skateboarders.

“If there is no response by the next board meeting,” Jacobs added, “we need to just drop it.” Other board members agreed.

“We’re in for tight budgets from here on out,” said Roy Flaherty. “There needs to be public interest and public assistance. If you have an interest, you need to step forward and help out,” noting that Dunes Friendship Land was built largely with volunteer labor and donated materials.

Letters to the park board may be sent to: Chesterton Park Board, 1415 S. 23rd St., Chesterton, IN 46304.

The board meets on the first Tuesday of the month and public comment is welcome.

Scouts Volunteer for Parks

The board got its wish for more volunteerism at the same meeting Tuesday.

Sean Handly, 15, of Boy Scout Troop 908, kicked off the meeting with his plan to volunteer time and materials, labor and planning for soccer kick-back walls in Dogwood Park.

Handly’s well-thought out plan for his Eagle Scout Project was presented in a manner that so impressed the board they complimented him in person and commented on him again after the meeting adjourned.

Handly gave the board a computer printout of his plan to build as many as eight soccer kick-back goals spaced around the soccer fields in Dogwood Park’s west section.

He will recruit extra helping hands from his Boy Scout troop and will get donations of the lumber and cement needed. “If you can help us with an automatic post hole digger, that’d be great,” he added.

Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias gave assurance he and his assistant could help. Handly hopes to have the project completed in June or July.

The board unanimously approved the plan, asking Handly to work with Mathias on the number and placement of the kick-back goals.

Board members called the project an “excellent idea,” and praised Handly’s calm, detailed presentation.

Another group of Scouts is taking up the cause of Dunes Friendship Land.

Girl Scout Troop 82, fourth graders at Bailly Elementary, decided they wanted to take on a project to improve their community. On April 15 the girls inventoried problems at Friendship Land.

The list of problems from their initial inventory included the always present graffiti as well as trip hazards where boards had become exposed by diminishing wood chips, fraying tires with exposed wires and a sandbox in need of sand.

The size and maintenance needs of the park have taxed the small park staff since it was built. Keeping the extensive wood structures in good repair, replacing the wood chips needed under the numerous play structures, repairing vandalized parts and painting over the constant barrage of graffiti all add up to a job the small park department is not able to keep up with.

The park simply does not have the staff to supervise the park, or do a daily inspection for the vandalism which occurs daily, said park board president Vincent Emanuele.

“We keep hoping that parents of children who use the park will volunteer to help,” said Flaherty.

“Do you want to adopt a park?” said Jacobs.

“Yeah!” came the enthusiastic response. So, Girl Scout Troop 82 is taking up the cause.

Noting that the Rebuilding Together on April 24 may have resolved the problems they’d found, the troop told the park board they will ‘adopt’ the park; clean up what they can and report problems they find to the park department.

The girls did a photo display of items needing attention and took turns reading the itemized list to the board. Troop members are Aris Fettering-Hood, Brook Kravitz, Julia Merryman, Lucy Navarro, Joy Ndukwu and Neathie Patel. Leaders are Kathy Kravitz and Denise Ndukwu.

“It is a pleasure to see all you young people out here at a meeting,” said Jacobs, “I commend you all.”

Problems at any Chesterton park units may be reported to the Park Department at 926-3000.




Posted 5/12/2004



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