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Skateboarders ask Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors to permanently reopen skatepark

February 15, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Skateboarders upset about the seasonal closing of the Dunlap Family Skatepark have asked the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors to reopen it permanently.

“We’re not going to skate the park if there is snow anyway,” said Casey Whitlock, of Polktown Road.
Whitlock and fellow skateboarder Caleb Shank of Old Forge Road said they would prefer the park be open year-round.

Their request was echoed by Skiway Avenue resident Amy Yokum, a parent who wants the skatepark open for fair weather days in the winter.

“I think the park should be open on days like today,” she said Wednesday.

Whitlock, Shank and Yokum talked to the supervisors at a workshop meeting about the skatepark being closed through March 15.

Through a donation by Paul and Barb Dunlap, the $218,000 skatepark opened in 2008 at Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area off Mentzer Gap Road.

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The supervisors decided to close the skatepark over the winter because of concerns about vandalism and freezing damaging the concrete.

Shank said he contacted the contracted company that built the park and was told the concrete is not affected by freezing and thawing. Whitlock said the skateboarders stopped shoveling snow off the skatepark concrete when asked by the township to stop.

Township officials said the Dunlaps asked that the skatepark be closed over the winter to protect the investment.

Yokum said she feels a person who makes a gift cannot create stipulations afterward. Supervisor Elaine Gladhill strongly disagreed, saying rebuffing the donor’s wishes shows a lack of gratitude.

“It’s a waste (to close it over the winter). It’s a great gift the community has been given,” Yokum said.

The supervisors had asked adult skateboarders and parents to consider forming an organization that could be responsible for opening the skatepark on fair weather days. Yokum said there was no interest in doing that because parents perceived the request as policing the skatepark.

“It’s not fair to close just one segment of the park,” she said, noting that skateboarders are being asked to live by a different set of rules.

Soon, the skateboarders may literally be operating under a different set of rules. The supervisors discussed incorporating into general recreation ordinances skatepark rules, including winter hours as well as restrictions on shoveling and ice-melting products.

Skateboarders are already required to wear helmets at Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area.

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