City Considering Location For New Skateboard Park

OSWEGO, NY – Nearly one year after the only skateboard park in the Port City closed, skaters could be getting a new location to show off their talents.

At its meeting last week, the Physical Services Committee approved a motion that would create a new, albeit temporary, skate park.

After serving as a place for thousands of local skateboarders and bikers to ride and just hang out, the Red Planet Skate Park on West First Street closed its doors for good in late April 2009.

The YMCA and Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, on behalf of the Recreation Commission, are seeking to use the western portion of the Crisafulli Rink parking area for the creation of a temporary skateboard park from May 1 to Sept. 30.

They are making the request with the understanding that a sponsoring organization will be in place to operate the park and assume the responsibilities associated with it, explained Mike Smith, DPW commissioner.

Those responsibilities would include, but not limited to, liability insurance, oversight, security, organization, safety regulations, fees, repairs, cleanup and more, Smith added.

“The sponsor will be required to operate the park in accordance with local laws and policies,” Smith told the committee. “They will be required to post the city’s code of conduct at the park, also.”

They’ll also be required to include the city, as additional insured, on their liability insurance policy.

There is grant monies available to the prospective sponsor for supplies and equipment, Smith pointed out.

This use of public space is meant to give skateboard park supporters the opportunity to generate a grassroots effort to establish to establish a permanent park somewhere within the city to benefit all skateboard, BMX and in-line skates enthusiasts in the area, according to Connie Cosemento, committee chair.

“I’ve been working with the YMCA, and we’ve put together a grant application to the Youth Advocate Program, a not-for-profit agency in the county that has a special grant to pay for supplies for youth-related projects,” explained Kathy Fenlon, executive director of the Youth Bureau. “We won’t know the outcome of that for a couple of weeks yet. But I am pretty confident that we will get that grant. That would give us money to purchase supplies so that a group of kids with a lot of supervision from adults could build ramps for that park.”

They are also working out ways to supervise the park, she added.

They YMCA is going to apply for an AmeriCorps member through the Youth Bureau, which would provide a certain number of hours and is looking at other alternatives as well to help staff the park, Fenlon said.

Councilor Shawn Walker asked how they would keep people out of the park when it was closed.

“That would be the responsibility of the sponsoring organization,” Smith noted. “That’s part of the deal. We are only offering them the use of this space. Whatever problems arise from that, they need to deal with it.”

The organization will have to put up some sort of fence, Cosemento said. They would also disable the ramps to prevent their use when the park is not in operation, she added.

The full council will consider the recommendation on Monday.

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