May 8, 2008

Skate Park Gets ‘Stay of Execution’

In a state of disrepair, the privately owned skateboard and biking equipment located at Johnson Park was scheduled for removal and demolition.

But after three teenagers attended the May meeting of the Memphis City Council, that move was temporarily postponed to allow the local students an opportunity to repair the ramps and other equipment while working with city employees to remove any apparatus deemed unsafe or that could not be repaired.

“It has to be fixed, and has to be fixed soon,” said Alderman James Parker. “We don’t want to see it go away, but it has to be safe for the public.”

Frankie Reeves, Erika McBane and Donna Hart met with the council and indicated a larger number of youths, as many as 30, were interested in fixing the equipment and maintaining the park for skateboarding, roller blading and bike riding.

The park supporters noted that the equipment was first built two years ago, and was largely owned and maintained by individuals that are either now in college, don’t live in Memphis any longer, or have given up the pursuit all together.

They indicated ownership of the ramps and other items had been passed on to the younger skaters, who now realized it was their responsibility to raise money to repair or replace items the city is allowing to be used at the public park.

The students indicated efforts were under way to raise money to make the necessary improvements at the park.

The council agreed to give the group additional time to bring the equipment up to standard. The park status will be reviewed at the June council meeting.

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