By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, August 15. One of many topics brought up at the business meeting was the current condition of the popular skateboard park on Devon Drive. It was noted the ramps at this park are in poor condition and one is actually dangerous. There is some consideration being given to closing the park.
According to parks supervisor Dana Corogin she didn’t know if the parks board would want to form a committee to study options for this recreational area. She told the board that the park is used all the time and the youth would love to see concrete ramps. She said she addressed some of the park participants and told them that it’s a matter of not having enough money to do all the things that need to be done in the city. Those who use the park say it is a perfect size, but they wish it were closer to the schools. Corogin said they don’t feel there is a drug problem any more. There are younger children coming with their parents or grandparents to the skate park.
Corogin estimated it would cost $5,000 to $8,000 to replace a ramp. Corogin said the kids asked her if they could get concrete masons to donate a portion. Vermilion City Council member Brian Holmes, council’s representative to parks board, said he has had some experience with skate parks in former jobs. He said if the decision came to closing the park it would be a cooperative effort with the police department. Holmes told the board that kids are building their own structures at the park, and they need to stop this activity. The park is a liability issue and they don’t want people building their own structures.
Holmes thought there was money available and companies are willing to work with municipalities. He offered to make some contacts to see if he can get any help for the park repairs. He added that youth would like to see a different setup and different equipment to accommodate bicycles, skateboards, and scooters. Right now, Holmes believed that the park at this point in time comes down to a safety issue.
Parks board chairperson Elizabeth Wakefield suggested they need to look for alternative options, new products, prices, and look at getting a parent committee formed to help make this happen. Board members agreed they need to discuss the safety concerns of the skate park with the police chief and the city administration to determine if they should close the park until they can repair the equipment. Parks board member Brad Scholtz emphasized they have a shortfall of money in the parks budget.