Support given for public skate park in Lewistown

To the editor:

I know this has been a subject of discussion over the years, but I feel like it needs to be brought to attention again.

I, along with some others in the community, feel that a skate park should be constructed for Lewistown. We are forced to ride street, which is considered destructive by most and we are usually kicked out of spots. Or if we do want to ride a park, the closest one is 30 miles away in Boalsburg. I realize that it’s only a 30 minute trip by car, but if you can’t drive, like most of the riders here, how can you get there?

A concern that has been brought up to not build a skate park is drug users would come to a skate park. I’ve been to four township funded parks multiple times (Lewisburg, Pottstown, York and Ocean Pines in Maryland) and never once have I ever seen anyone use drugs.

Another concern is liability. What if someone were to get hurt at the park and then the township is held liable? The answer to that is either let the riders know that if they choose to use the park they do so at their own risk, (this is used at Lewisburg, Pottstown and York) or have waivers for the riders to sign before they can enter the park, and if they don’t they could be punished by the law. (This is used in Ocean Pines, Md.) There are over 2,500 skateparks in the United States alone, some with no waiver needed. If liability was the issue, then how can these parks go without being sued for someone getting hurt using the park?

The final concern is that there is no funding for a skate park. To fund a decent park, it would cost around $75,000. I realize that is a good bit of money, but it would be for a good cause that would benefit the community greatly.

So far I’ve only mentioned the concerns of building a park. There are many benefits to building a skate park for Lewistown.

An obvious benefit of building a skate park is it promotes physical activity and getting outside and doing something. Most kids today are too attached to playing video games or being on the computer. If a skatepark were to be built, it would give our youth a reason to get outside and be active.

Another reason is, contrary to popular belief, public skate parks actually reduce criminal behavior. Kids would have nothing to occupy themselves with and find other, less positive activities to do. In Driffield, England, it was found that their public skate park helped reduce youth crime. In Los Angeles, Calif., a skate park was built and since its opening, the violent crime in the area was reduced by 90 percent.

Now that you’ve heard the benefits of benefits of having a public skate park in Lewistown and the way to address the concerns, I ask you how difficult would it really be to build a skate park?

Kyrin Bingman