Several members of the local community asked the Gettysburg Recreational Authority (GARA) board tonight to consider allowing the skate park to stay open after dark using the lights that are already available nearby.
The group noted the park has grown over the past years and that it would be nice to have that growth continue.
The GARA board members were receptive to the idea but also noted potential problems.
“The location is not good for night time. We get a lot of vandalism down at that end of the park,” said board president Steve Toddes.
“I’m a little nervous about having people in the park if we don’t have staff there,” said board member Steve Niebler.
GARA Executive Director Erin Peddigree said the police had been patrolling the area near the skate park more frequently due to continued vandalism. “We found beer cans all over the place in the skate park this morning,” said Peddigree. “The electrical box for the lights has been vandalized.”
Peddigree said the staff frequently had trouble getting the skaters to leave the park when it closes and that the staff is often the recipient of swearing from the park users.
Board member Jimmy Phelps said he is frequently at the skate park and that he has noted issues. “Every time it’s a group of kids cussing. It’s ridiculous at that point. You have 8 year olds and 10 year olds in there. There’s beer bottles and people throwing trash in there.”
The board suggested the skate park users organize and find out the costs of repairing and keeping the lights on and then come back to them. The board also suggested the group needs to police itself.
Toddes suggested the skaters create a group or a club. “When we have problems with Little League, for instance, we go to the Little League organization.”
Phelps told the group, “Hopefully you guys can talk to these other guys (who are causing the problems). You have to respect what you have. I wish you the best of luck.”
“If we can do something to make the skate park more accessible I’m all for it. But we have some issues to get over,” said Niebler.
“I appreciate you guys coming in,” said Toddes.
Charles Stangor is Gettysburg News’s Publisher and Editor in Chief.