February 23, 2011 at 4:08pm
POPULAR PARK FOR YOUTH TEMPORARILY CLOSES >>>
Tuesday afternoons I get off work at 3 p.m. If it's not raining, I buy a cup coffee, grab my skateboard and head over to the Yauger Skateboard Park on the Westside of Olympia for a little requisite shredding. Rolling into the snake run, olleing the top of the pyramid. Perfecting flat ground tricks until the sun goes down. No better way to spend a clear, winter afternoon.
This Tuesday was no different. Well, that is until I got to the park. Instead of my normal smooth cruise across Cooper Point Road and onto the ramps, a metal fence stopped me. The park was closed. A sign on the fence read something like, "The skate park is closed due to excessive litter."
Excessive litter? Park closed? My reaction was simple: screw you, City of Olympia. You've ruined my afternoon.
Ready to write an angry editorial, I called the Olympia Parks Department this afternoon. I spoke to Lisa Hall, a parks department representative. She informed me that the park was scheduled to remain closed until Thursday. Hall argued that the amount of litter present at the park was too much for a skeleton winter parks crew to handle. She said overflowing trashcans (backward logic perhaps) and trash in the bowl justified a park shutdown. She said closing the park every so often was a way for the city to say, "shape up" to the park's users. She hoped closing the park would cause the, "good kids to lean harder on the rowdy kids," in an effort to curb littering. She said though the park was technically closed, skaters could call the parks department and have it opened for a short period. She also said she was sorry to inconvenience skaters who pick up their trash.
"It's an imperfect solution to a problem," Hall said.
The city has never closed another area park due to excessive litter.
Yauger Skate Park is popular. On any sunny afternoon, the park can see as many as 50 visitors: kids in helmets and pads shooting down the ramps; men with tattoos jumping down the stairs; high school teens grinding the boxes; skaters, bikers, and rollerbladers zipping in every direction. And since most of the park's users are youths, the occasional forgotten Burger King wrapper or empty Gatorade bottle is inevitable. Simply inevitable.
I never litter at the skateboard park. Ninety percent of the people that use the skateboard park don't litter. But some do. This is true of any high-traffic, tightly contained area.
So the city closed the park. They didn't grin and bear it. They didn't reason that a sanctioned location for activities most likely to be performed by easily alienated youth is critical for the Olympia. Instead, they shut the park down. But because the ever-dreaded "trick-style skateboarding" is illegal on almost all-private and public property, where else can the youths who use the park go? Who knows? Maybe home. Maybe to go grind some benches out in front of the capitol building. Maybe to find some trouble.
Yeah, I'm pissed. The city should take a look and see how popular the skateboard park is, how a few scraps of trash floating in the wind at a small concrete plaza are insignificant. The city's park's department should think about all the "good kids" they are negatively affecting. They should think that closing - even temporarily - a safe haven for area youth wouldn't increase respect for city property, just increase animosity. Letting any public park sit unused is a bummer, especially a park that was funded by city and community money. The city should keep the park open, increase the amount of trashcans and say, "Roll on. Try to pick up your trash but roll on." That's what the city of Olympia should do.
After my conversation with Hall I dropped by the park to take some pictures of the fence and the closed sign. To my surprise, the park was open. One day ahead of schedule. Perhaps the park's department decided to open the park because the litter was cleaned earlier than expected. Or maybe they opened the park because they got a call from a writer asking some questions. Impossible to say.
The park was open. But it hardly mattered because there was snow on the ground and I couldn't skate.
Off duty rules.
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Looks delicious! Thank you Jackie for share ^^
Banff National Park is a breath of fresh air. A small mountain town with world class facilities...
Too many cover-bands play at The Swiss.
Wohoo! Love this and great work! From one Assyrian to another I congratulate you and am rooting...