Manassas Journal Messenger | Vandalism threatens Old Town Skate Park

Vandalism has caused Old Town Skate Park, which the city of Manassas created for $60,000, to be dismantled.

Some local skateboarders are less than thrilled about the loss.

“We’re not trying to get our names in the paper. We just want our park opened back up,” said skateboarder Gavin Curry, 15.

Curry is one of about 20 local skateboarders who have met with Recreation and Parks Department Director JoAnn Higgs to voice their disappointment. Several, including Curry, have even offered to hold fundraisers to pay for the facility’s repairs.

“If the kids want to get together with their parents, and maybe do some fundraising, I certainly would help out as much as I can,” Higgs said.

After skaters began using museum grounds, Loy E. Harris Pavilion and other public locations as their skating sites, Higgs proposed the skateboarding and rollerblading park as an alternative.

The City Council approved the purchase of the ramp and rail apparatus from All Recreation, which installed the skating equipment and has installed playground equipment in the city.

Old Town Skate Park was created about a year and half ago in an old 50-by-100-foot basketball court near Osbourn High School on Tudor Lane.

The park usually closed at dusk but, expecting skaters to climb the fence when the park was closed, Higgs said it was never locked.

Mild vandalism, including littering, has been an ongoing occurrence at the skate park since its inception, Higgs said. The city had to replace a $600 sign, which listed safety instructions, when it was stolen the first week the park opened.

Vandalism occurring late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, however, was so severe that Higgs and City Manager Lawrence Hughes agreed that the skate park’s apparatus should be dismantled Wednesday.

“They just had unscrewed a lot and made a complete mess,” said Higgs, who said the destruction presented a safety hazard since the fence was broken and bent and its chain was cut, some panels were removed, and there was broken glass on the ground.

“I know the skateboarders are upset about it but we’re upset about it, too,” Hughes said.

A police report was filed, but no arrests had been made as of Friday evening, according to police spokesman Tim Neumann.

The cost of repairs will determine if the city will reopen the park in spring 2006, and even then they are only willing to repair it once, Hughes said.

He expects to receive an estimate in about a week.

All of the park’s skaters should take some responsibility for maintaining it by picking up trash and reporting vandalism to police, said Higgs and Hughes.

“So, you know, I’m happy that I can work with the young people because I think most of the kids who use it are really, really great,” Higgs said.

Curry said that he and fellow skaters have confronted vandals but never reported vandalism to park officials or police. That would change if the park were reopened in the spring.

“Yeah, I’ll definitely report it right away,” Curry said.

Staff writer Tory N. Parrish can be reached at (703) 368-6570.

Similar Posts