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Group raising money to build new one at same site

Rockland to remove skate park

By Stephen Betts | Oct 20, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland and Oceanside officials met Tuesday morning at the skate park located on the grounds of Oceanside High School in Rockland.

Rockland — The city plans to remove the skateboard park, located on the grounds of Oceanside High School, because of its deteriorated condition.

City Manager Tom Luttrell, Public Services Director Kathy Bourque Parker, Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Sarah Austin, and Oceanside High School Principal Jesse Bartke were among the people who gathered Tuesday morning, Oct. 20 to inspect the park.

"The skate park is in rough shape. We had a lot of issues up there lately with vandalism, kids having camp fires under the skate park itself," Luttrell told City Councilors last week. "It's becoming an unsafe environment up there, unsafe for the skaters."

He said that the city will donate the framing to any other skateboard park but if no one is interested, everything will be demolished and taken to the solid waste facility.

Luttrell and Austin said there is a group of young adults who are raising money for a new skate park. Luttrell said if the money is raised, it can be reinstalled on the property.

Rockland leases the land where the skate park is located from the school district.

The park was built in 2002 after four years of planning and fundraising by students and community groups in Rockland. MBNA was the largest benefactor for the project, donating $200,000 for its construction. The Rockland Kiwanis also was a sponsor of the project.

The park was one of the most heavily used recreation facilities when it started.

In 2016, the city made significant repairs after the park had fallen into disrepair.

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Comments (14)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 25, 2020 15:35

We have a few athletic fields that are empty most of the time even before the virus. We pay for team sports and many don't participate either through lack of interest or ability. I understand that taxpayers fund youth activities but when people are on fixed incomes they may have to choose between eating and someone's child trying to break a limb appeasing themselves.

Posted by: Melissa Byer | Oct 25, 2020 10:27

What is sad is all that money was donated to the town. It was built because it gave the kids something to do. All the town had to do is maintain it. It blows my mind that that couldn't be done. Even if it was a coffee can at the town office. There has NEVER been a effort at all from the town. They have complained about it from the day it was built!

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Oct 22, 2020 08:19

It is such a shame that our city government can spends thousands and thousands of dollars on making Main Street one way, remember the Blue Line and all the other extreme wasteful spending our city government has been doing over the past several years instead of saving and spending it on much needed youth places to go and things to do for our youth.

Posted by: johanna stadler | Oct 21, 2020 15:51

seems stupid to me to take away something that would/could be used heavily again.  What's wrong with actually taking some of the high taxs and make something for the kids in the area.  Oh and here's another idea... if it needs to be supervised... figure it out.  As a kid, growing up in the mid coast area I can tell you, not enough for the kids to do to keep them busy.  How about taking some of the funds used to "beautify" main street, and make a nice place for the kids.  Hey if it needs to be a restaurant to get money, I will wheel my car up at night with sandwiches.  I guess I don't quite get it.  They raised the money once and what???  COuldn't the city help keep it up rather than letting it go t waste?  Paint a blue line leading to it and call it historic.  what, doesn't it cater to the arts, foodies, or other posh folks from away?

Posted by: Debra J Barter | Oct 21, 2020 08:48

Seems such a shame to just tear it down. When my son was a youngster; there was no place for the skaters to go. Police were forever sending he and his friends away from empty parking lots; (liability I understand). Why not fix it up and patrol more. How about security cameras, to weed out the trouble makers? Rockland doesn't have anything for kids these days. Rec. center? Closed half the time. It's hard for kids these days; it would be great to let them have something that's just theirs. Maybe even recruit the kids to help refurbish it?? If they help build it; they would care more about it.


Posted by: Ken Pride | Oct 20, 2020 22:13

I agree with Celia!  Our son Eliot was one of a devoted group of teenagers over 20 years ago who along with the help and support of John Batty, an active Kiwanian and super supporter of local youth, helped Eliot and others get the skate park financed, much through MBNA.  The final cost was over $250,000.00.  It was used by many kids from little guys on bikes with parents watching in the parking lot to adults who were still skateboarding!  Sadly when it started to need repair, it was under the umbrella of the Rockland Recreation Center and maintenance was neglected.  A big part of the problem was that the high school parking lot drained onto the cement slab and it accelerated rot in the wooden structures.  It is not a bad spot, should they build it in cement especially now that the entire parking lot at Oceanside has been re-engineered with better drainage. Too often people let things fall into disrepair and don't spend money on upkeep.  Please review the history of the skatepark and don't take things away from kids, young and old!  Please let me know where I can donate to rebuild the skaterpark.

MaryBeth Pride

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 20, 2020 13:07

Of course. Now let's watch and see if it doesn't get passed on in the form of Rockland and/or RSU taxes when the smoke and dust has cleared, barring a wealthy benefactor. Mr Mullins, if you are listening this would make a great museum piece. :)

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Oct 20, 2020 11:31

Sorry Wrong Page.  LOL

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Oct 20, 2020 11:31

Renting out the many rooms would be an idea to try to recoup some of the $138,904.00 that the city has to pay the YMCA.  I do not understand why we are paying the Y to have them in the building.  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  Not to mention that we are paying for the maintenance and utilities.  It would be to our benefit to find a way to rent out spaces at the Rec.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 16, 2020 09:58

I am hoping (but not expecting) simply a renovation. The park which was only renovated 4 years ago most certainly isn't an expensive rip down and start over project. A few boards, some nails and a coat of paint combined with replacing boarding on the side facing Broadway is all it needs. That is how the kids are getting underneath it to build their 'campfires'. Living nearby I know many kids use that park as one of their only means of recreation. In addition to a renovation it needs to be police patrolled at least once per shift and a complete walk-around to observe any new vandalism or damage, preferably once daily. It wouldn't hurt for an officer to chat with the kids occasionally. What better way to gain respect for the law than a bit of PR with them periodically? As a kid I recall vividly Bert Snow doing exactly that with my friends and I. He gained my lifelong respect.

Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Oct 16, 2020 09:49

Have the young people been invited to express their thoughts on this????

Posted by: Sarah Austin | Oct 16, 2020 09:27

Want to let folks know that there are grassroots, skater-led plans in the works to hopefully renovate the park and make it better - but we will need community support! If you'd like to get connected, please email and we will put you in touch!

Posted by: Knight Marine Service | Oct 16, 2020 08:57

Rockland, please spend the money to save or replace the skate park.  If we can afford $30K on Main St. for little or no reason let's fix this up for the kids in the community.  Celia Knight

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Oct 16, 2020 07:40

One of the very few places for our youth to go.  So sad.

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