Monday, July 21, 2003

Skaters to get a place to play



By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON TWP. - For the last month police have cracked down on skaters at Testerman Park because of damage to picnic tables at the shelter.

But, township officials now say they are willing to give them a second chance.

Complaints from parents and their teens led to an agreement for a temporary area in the parking lot off Maineville Road for skateboarding, in-line skating and trick cycling while the park board researches plans for an official skate park.

Parents will be asked in a special 7 p.m. park board meeting Monday at the township building to agree to supervise the teens.

"We're going to open a spot temporarily and see how it goes," said park board member Bill Shearer. "Parks are not day care centers, and we don't have people there 24 hours to watch them."

Unlike nearby communities such as Loveland, the township does not have a law that bans skating in public areas. However, Shearer said the activities have become more prevalent - and more of a nuisance - in recent months.

Police said they have received numerous complaints from motorists about skateboarders flying out into traffic on Ohio 48 after ramping off of steps at an abandoned auto parts store.

Trouble at the park surfaced earlier this summer when fiberglass picnic tables at the concession shelter - a favorite skating spot - were fractured and splintered by skateboarders who used them to "grind," or slide their board or skates along the top.

Fearing that skaters were going to get hurt or that park users would be sliced by razor-sharp splinters when they sat at the concession shelter, the park board removed all tables.

The board hoped it might prevent injuries and deter extreme sports there, but it didn't, Shearer said. So, trustees decided to run skaters and boarders out of the park, Police Chief Gene Duvelius said.

"We've had a few encounters with some parents who were disgruntled. They said, "Where's my kid going to be able to go and rollerblade and skateboard?" Duvelius said.

The park board will decide on an opening date after Monday's meeting.




ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Radel: Summer's about being carefree
Amos: Young violinist is black, American and talented
Some good news

LOCAL HEADLINES
Reunion plans for peaceful event
Convergys Center true loser if firm moves
'Curtains' for aging theater
Monroe pregnant teen home opens
Craft-master helps keep retirees busy and happy
Skaters to get a place to play
Lebanon to ask money for 2nd fire station
Mason growth could taper off
Treasurer to plead guilty in theft case
College president Sister Margaret Anne Molitor
Moon walk was star of show at salute to achievements in flight
Tristate A.M. Report

KENTUCKY
Man sought in Walton park assault on child
Memorial honors fallen firefighter