Decision Points

Tough love on skate park closure

The City on Friday, Aug. 17, made the decision to close the new skate park for a week because of vandalism and other irresponsible behavior by park users. Kids have been climbing the fence, damaging it, instead of using the gates. Trash not finding its way into trash cans has also been an ongoing issue. Police have been called out frequently to the skate park on everything from theft to criminal mischief.

Closing the park the last week of summer vacation may seem especially harsh to some -- particularly the many responsible skaters -- but the City feels a strong message needs to be delivered. The City Council made a significant investment in the skate park -- $390,000, to be specific -- and is dedicated to doing all it can to ensure the skate park is a safe, clean place for kids and families to enjoy.

We're interested in what skaters have to say about the problems, and their ideas for solutions, so a meeting has been set up for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the Clay Madsen Recreation Center. You can also share your ideas here.



It is truly unfortunate that it has come to this but needed to be done. The kids do need to police themselves and the park.Round Rock has done a wonderful thing by building this park and the park has been probably the most trafficked park Round Rock has in its city limits.I am sure Mable Davis went through some growing pains when it first opened as well as Lakeway but think this park has seen way more traffic in the last couple of months than both combined,which is a good thing because the money was not wasted on a park that no one goes to.I myself(45)skate it quite often with and without my kids at various times and always have a car full when I go,usually my 3 kids and their friends.I do like to skate at nite because it is cooler than the heat of the day and on occasion would have liked to see the police make more of a presence out there and do an occasional walk through. Not just to start scaring kids not to come out but rather talk with them bond and make it a more safe and family oriented park. Like I said I have a 16 yr old boy and a set of 12 yr boy/girl twins and all love to skate the park. My little girl roller blades it and everyone has been very accommodating to her. Yes the park needed to be closed but I sure we can work out a plan to have it reopened on Tues.I will plan on making this meeting. Here is an idea I would like to throw out that the  San Marcus skate park is doing to help keep their park up and running..Matt of Mustache Skateboards's could be a big help with this....

Skate Park of San Marcos Team Concept

Why would a city skate park need a team ?

Because it gives one a sense of ownership and purpose.

Currently, there is 4 out of 10 people on our team. We picked out the kids that were.

1. Great Skaters ( in their own right )

2. Down to Earth

3. Skated the park ALOT

We're giving them new SPOSM boards and in return they are on the team. Simple as that.

Since there's really no use for a team now a days, but everyone still wants to be a "Team Rider", we're using the team to be Stewards for the Park. They get all the perks of being on a team, but also have to look after the park. They have to make sure trash is picked up when ever they can, they have to help teach the little kids not to goof off, and basically be Liaison between the Parks and Recs Dept and the CORE riders of the park.

While the closure of Round Rock Skate Park due to violations is bad, it's a great lesson to be taught to users of other parks.

Our team has been telling every one they can, that if our park is not taken care of, IT WILL GET SHUT DOWN. It really hits home.

We've only had this little program going for a few weeks, but ( knock on wood ) it's been working very well. I even had one kid tell me that being on the team a few days has already cost him a couple of friends after he btiched them out for leaving trash in the parking lot.

I'll try and keep y'all posted on how it works out. We'll have the team filled before our big Competition in October.

# August 18, 2007 11:17 AM

wcsportscorner said:

I read there were 115 calls placed with the RR police department prior to the park closure.  When were these calls placed? Since the park opening I visit on numerous occasions with both of my children each week departing prior to darkness and I have not seen any vandalism occuring during the day.  

I agree that trash at times is bad but I'm not sure that closing the park was the appropriate decision at this time.  I think the park closure sends the wrong message regarding individuals in the community that like to skate. For an example take a look at the Statesman blog entry and comments titled "Vandalism prompts Round Rock to temporarily closes skate park".

Why are we allowing "misdemeanor criminal activity such as trespassing, disturbances and criminal mischief" of a few individuals affect so many? There must be other options for example the monitoring by the RR Police in the evenings.

# August 19, 2007 10:07 PM

wcsportscorner said:

I will try to make the meeting but just in case I am unable to attend STIBROKER linked to a site that also provides a "Skatepark Stewardship" document.

I would be surprised if the City is unable to identify or recruit "UNOFFICIAL STEWARDS" for the Round Rock Skate Park.

# August 19, 2007 10:39 PM

idano said:

I think it would be good to have someone onsite while the park is open - kind of like a life guard of some sorts.

If there is a person of authority around I am sure these types of issues would quickly go away.

# August 20, 2007 2:37 PM

Skatermom said:

It's too bad this was the only option.  I talked to 2 School Resource officers this summer, and they told me it had been fine out there.  Guess the police were misinformed.  I agree with a "lifeguard" out there.  Also, the skaters need to be allowed to come in for water, it's hot, and they really work up a sweat.  My 16 year old was not allowed to get water, and there is nothing out there for them.  Also, as far as trash, where are the trash cans?  It looks trashy out there since they didn't build any kind of sidewalks to get to the skating area, and the rain and mud are the only "landscaping" they have.  Lots of ideas are out there, it should not have been just shut down.  If things are happening after hours, then it needs to be treated like all other public places where things happen after hours.  Cops can do their jobs, which is to protect and serve.

# August 20, 2007 9:09 PM

skatersmom said:

I was saddened to hear that the skate park was shut down due to the bad behavior by some individuals.  I find it very hard to believe that any of the true skaters would have been in on the destruction and illegal activity because they wouldn't chance losing their place to practice their skills.

My son and I (and several of his friends) attended the meetings when all the plans for the park were being made and I encouraged the City to put a fence around the park, put up lights, charge a small admission, and have the rec center "police" the park to ensure it stays safe for all.  There's a great skatepark in Portland, TX (near Corpus Christi) that I take my son to quite frequently  We pay $5.00 each day for him to skate the park, he receives a wrist band showing that he is a paying customer, and we've not experienced any problems there.  The park has specific operating hours and outside those hours it is locked up.  It's considered part of the rec center and the rec employees are paid to help keep an eye on the place.  Only once have we seen kids come into the park and cause a little bit of a problem, but once it was brought to the attention of the rec center workers, the kids were asked to leave and everyone else could get back to skating.  I think it's very unfortunate that there are some people that try to mess-up things for others to enjoy.  I ask the City to please consider charging a fee for people to skate at the park and to allow the customers to use the rec center for water and restroom breaks.  I would certainly have no problem paying for my son to skate in a safe and protected environment.  Seems to be working just fine in Portland. I certainly don't see why it can't work the same in Round Rock!  

# August 21, 2007 4:55 PM
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