The idea of bringing a skate park to Lansdale Borough has not bailed in the minds of the parks and recreation committee.
In fact, skateboarders can take solace in the fact that the committee is proposing money be budgeted solely for development of a skate park in 2013.
“We are in the process of searching for a proper location,” said committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller at Wednesday’s Lansdale Council work session. “The chief (Robert McDyre), Carl (Saldutti, the parks director) and myself have been around doing some scouting. That project is moving forward.”
Fuller said the plan at present is to come up with a list of potential sites for a skate park.
“We are working with the police. Because of visibility and safety, we want to pick a place that’s amenable to public safety,” Fuller said. “Certainly, it’s best if we already own the property.”
No doubt, eyes are focused now on the borough park system to find a suitable location.
“We want to look for a place where it will cause the least disruption to peoples’ neighborhoods,” Fuller said.
Earlier this year, the committee discussed working with Hatfield Township to find a location in the jointly-owned Schweiker Park on Moyer Road.
Schweiker Park, she said, is still in the mix.
“It’s my personal goal to have this well underway, if not completed, in 2013,” Fuller said. “You know me: I’m always thinking it can happen in a month. Of course, it can’t. To be usable in 2013 would be fantastic.”
Fuller said the committee would, at some point after a location is found, invite public input. This public input includes seeking suggestions from youths, teens and young adults who skate in the borough.
“If we put money and resources into building a skate park,” she said, “let’s build something users will use.”
It's been nine years since the words "skate park" left the lips of a councilmember and archived in Lansdale Borough's record books.
The first time the idea came up was in 2003. At that time, the borough and the North Penn YMCA entered into discussions on a skate park to meet an increasing demand in the sport.
However, according to an article in The Reporter, former borough manager F. Lee Mangan said a park wasn’t feasible because White’s Road Park was too small, and Schweiker Park wouldn’t permit it because it is a restricted passive recreation park funded by a county grant.
There was also the risk and liability factor — what if someone gets hurt? Would the borough be sued?
In August 2007, the discussion came up again per request of former councilman John Smiley, prompted by a report that more youths are skateboarding than playing baseball, according to a Reporter newspaper article.
But, for a second time, the idea was tabled come 2008 because the resident with two adjoining lots to Schweiker Park wasn’t interested in selling.
There was some hope, too, that Keith Stoltz, owner of the former American Olean Tile Co. property, would either sell or donate a one-acre parcel to the borough and township, according to the article.
Before the project goes through, there's a need for some housekeeping in the borough ordinance.
Lansdale Borough zoning laws prohibit skateboarding on public property only, thereby forcing skaters to use places like White’s Road Park or Wedgewood Park for their ollies, grinds and kickflips.
One vote prevented skateboard from being legalized in Railroad Plaza and the business district in 1999 — former Mayor Mike DiNunzio cast the vote that broke a tie. At the time of the vote, one out of nine councilpersons was absent.
We put the question out to our Lansdale Patch fans and followers: Where do you think is a good location for a skate park?
In more than 24 hours, 63 people left comments. The most popular locations suggested: White's Road Park, Stony Creek Park, Fourth Street Park, off West Fifth Street near the Cannoneers football field, the former American Olean property at Eighth and Cannon, and the old depot at Broad and Vine.
Readers also suggested across from Stony Creek Park or the former Lans-Bowl property. However, these properties are the sites of a future townhome community and the Lansdale Collaborative Project, respectively.
Where do you think is a good location for the skate park?
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