City’s skate board park in danger of closing |

City’s skate board park in danger of closing

Sarah Gonser

Skate boarders at Bijou Community Park are facing a warning from the City of South Lake Tahoe and possibly even closure of the skate facility if they don’t begin abiding by the rules.

Frustrated by the increasing disrepair and reoccurring vandalism happening at the three-year-old park, some city officials are urging immediate action by the City Council.

“The kids are ruining their opportunity,” said Mary Kay McLanahan, the city’s associate planner who spent several years pushing for the facility to be built. “When we undertook this project, we agreed there would be certain rules and regulations – specifically, helmets, elbow and knee pads and maintenance assistance by the skaters. The people who wanted the park said they would abide by those rules. Now they have broken their word.”

McLanahan said a recent visit to the park revealed overturned trash cans and picnic tables used for obstacles courses, cigarette butts and beverage containers littered all over the grounds, and a public phone ripped from its setting.

“The cans and tables are chained to trees but the kids are literally cutting the chains so they can use them to skate over. They are also obnoxiously rude to High Sierra Patrol for enforcing rules. They get right up in their faces and curse at them,” McLanahan said. “They were very fortunate they did not have to pay for this $25,000 park, but for them not to abide by the rules and take care of a public facility enrages me.”

At a June 22 City Council meeting, City Manager Kerry Miller said that should this behavior continue, the city would not hesitate to close the facility down.

But having been involved in getting the park built in 1996, Councilman Tom Davis said he felt the skaters should be given another chance.

“Although the skaters built it, the park is on city land and there is a big liability issue. We made the rules real clear back then and the participants accepted the responsibility to police themselves,” Davis said. “I think if the challenge is put out there, they will step up to the plate.”

Davis said when he visited the park several weeks ago, he counted 16 skaters. Three wore helmets, he said, and none wore elbow of knee pads.

“It is my sincere hope that they clean up their act, if not, the city will take action,” Davis said. “Most of them are good kids, I think we need to discuss this with those who helped build the park and ask them to help police the rules.”

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