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Township officials, youths discuss plans for skate park

June 30, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Raven Tresler was plainly apprehensive about talking in front of the group.

Yet, the leaders of Washington Township, Pa., were asking the 13-year-old and his peers for their help.

"People always tell you to be quiet," Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said. "We're telling you to talk."

Raven, a Waynesboro resident, steeled himself and approached an oversized sketch of a proposed skate park, pointing out sections that should have quarter pipes.

Raven and about 25 skateboarders have been the "experts" as Washington Township revises plans for a skate park at Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area on Mentzer Gap Road. They turned out again Thursday for a review session of three sketches from the California-based ARTIFEX park designers.

The group overwhelmingly preferred one design, but also merged in elements of another. The major comment was that the preferred plan - with a loading dock, two-sided pyramid and concrete ledge - needed the quarter pipes on its edges to prevent users from accelerating and running off the skate park's footprint all together.

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"That could be a giant bowl," said Raven's father, Chris Tresler.

Raven, who already had a 4-inch scab on his right elbow from a fall, shared his opinions on features seen during frequent trips to skate parks in Harrisburg, Dillsburg and Chambersburg in Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown and Frederick in Maryland. The boy learned how to skateboard in the third grade in Wyoming, where his parents said there is skateboarding equipment in nearly all public parks.

"I wanted a skate park here for a long time," Raven said.

The wait soon could be over, with township officials saying the equipment could be installed this fall using the more than $100,000 that has been donated anonymously for the project.

"I just like the fact that it's going to be concrete," said Nick Shadle, 14, of Waynesboro. "All the best parks are concrete."

Nick is looking forward to a "park that's fun that we get to decide what we want to do." The teenager praised the design process' inclusion of input from youths, and said Chambersburg failed to do so when installing its new features at the municipal park.

Travis Kendle, 16, of Greencastle, Pa., heard about the process from a friend and brought his skateboard to the meeting. He now drives to parks in Chambersburg and Frederick.

ARTIFEX will incorporate the latest suggestions and make a 3-D plan for review soon, said Jerry Zeigler, Washington Township's code enforcement officer.

"Our goal is to build a skate park at Pine Hill that will be something the people here, the skateboarders, will use," he said.

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