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Town council says skateboard park project too big for town

May 07, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg resident Steve Harris returned to the Town Council on Monday night to again make a pitch for a skateboard park, but town officials think the project may be too big for Sharpsburg.

Many skateboarders think they are being discriminated against because there are no facilities for them, Harris said.

At April's Town Council meeting, Harris urged the mayor and council to consider building a skateboard park. Town officials told him and the five boys with him to return after they researched the idea.

Harris said the boys found that a skateboard park that is the size of about four basketball courts was built in Mount Airy, Md., in Frederick County for $109,000.

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That park, which opened in 1999, has an annual budget of $30,000 and about breaks even thanks to $29,600 per year in revenue, Harris said. There are annual admission rates for in-town skaters and out-of-town skaters as well as a daily admission price for the occasional visitor.

Harris asked Town Council members for help to form a committee to further study the issue. The committee could approach the governments of Boonsboro and Keedysville about the idea so Sharpsburg would not be alone in the endeavor, Harris said.

Town Councilman J.W. Eichelberger said a skateboard park was too big an issue for small towns and the group should get Washington County government involved.

Vice Mayor Ralph Hammond said Sharpsburg doesn't have room for a skateboard park like Mount Airy's.

Boonsboro has the land for such a park because it has the King Farm, Hammond said.

Hammond said town officials would raise the issue with Boonsboro and Keedysville officials at the next Maryland Municipal League meeting on May 19.

Harris said the youths want a skateboard park because there is no place for them to skate.

The boys' research found that skateboarding is the sixth largest participant sport and the third largest for youths ages 6 to 18 years, said Harris, who has a son who skateboards.

Harris was accompanied by about six teenagers. Another parent also spoke in support of a skateboard park.

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