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Youth Forum: Slow Death of the Skate Park

January 15, 2007

With this posting, Crotonblog inaugurates an online meeting place where younger citizens may gather and voice their opinions on matters of importance to them without let or hindrance or censorship. For too long, adults have operated the world without regard for the opinions of the very people who will inherit it. With this forum we hope to begin reversing that selfish and shortsighted pattern.

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The SK8 Croton skate park being disassembled after its sale, December 2006.

Recently, a groundswell of protest arose over the hasty, almost panic-stricken abandonment of the skate park after the Village’s half-hearted attempt to operate it. By now, those of us who witnessed this sorry spectacle of six-figure mismanagement realize that the skate park was doomed from its inception by the Village’s misguided policies. Croton set exorbitant rates that literally kept users away. Croton insisted that users of the skate park be supervised by a paid employee at all times.

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A. Wiegman, D. Pojman, J. Ghegan, Austin Sperber, and L. Fortes (l to r)

Simply stated, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and its Department of Parks and Recreation embarked on a project to serve young people and yet required that it be self-sustaining without making the most elementary marketing studies that even the smallest of businesses would have made.

And where is it written that facilities paid for by the tax dollars of citizens and intended for recreational use by citizens, particularly young citizens, must show a profit or even break even? Should toddlers be required to pay to climb on a jungle gym? There are some areas of government where altruism should rule, and recreation is one of them.

More important, the Village designed a facility without once talking with the persons who would use it. Unfortunately, the recent belated attempt by young people to save the skate park was too little in terms of numbers and much too late timewise. Crotonblog cannot turn the clock back and start the badly planned and incompletely investigated skate park project over again. We can assist in seeing to it that another well-intentioned financial disaster doesn’t happen again and work against the best interests of young people.

For all practical purposes, the skate park is gone and young people have been penalized for the sins of their elders—or at least the sins of those in authority who would be happy to see the whole affair swept under the rug. Crotonblog has yet to hear a single expression of apology or contrition offered to the young people of Croton by those responsible for this disaster.

That being said, Crotonblog asks the young people of Croton to sound off now. Here’s your chance to let the adults of Croton know how you feel about their mishandling of the skate park. (To leave feedback on Crotonblog, you must register with TypeKey. When using TypeKey, commenters can use their own names or a nickname.)



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