*** Communities Weigh In On Value Of Skate Parks ***
CORTLAND, IL -- 08/04/2006
The skate park that was built in Cortland three years
ago has been a positive addition to the community,
Police Chief Russell Stokes said.
Six-year-old Nico Dazzo and his 5-year-old brother
Frankie enjoy the park. On Friday, they zoomed their
bikes up and down ramps at the Cortland Community S
It's not scary, the elder Dazzo said as he went down a ramp.
Their mom, Tegan Dazzo, sat under the
shade of a tree while she watched her boys.
We just moved here and they're getting the hang of it,
she said. It's fun for them.
Stokes said the skate park was needed for
older children who wanted somewhere to skate.
There was no place for kids to legitimately practice this sport,
Skateboarders shouldn't skate on the street, and private
property owners were concerned about liability, Stokes said.
When (the skateboarders) asked, Where can we go?'
they asked a legitimate question, he said.
Businesspeople and developers provided financial contributions
and materials to build the skate park at Cortland Community Park.
We don't see the use of the park that we did years ago,
Stokes said. But it still gets a considerable amount of use.
Stokes said he thinks that as more communities are building
skate parks, skaters who have transportation are getting to
those parks. But he said Cortland is still happy to have a
Now when we come across kids using skateboards where they
are not safe, we have somewhere to send them, Stokes said.
He said problems have been minimal.
The kids that go (to the park) seem to (get along) because they
share the same interest, he said. Sometimes kids go in there with
a BMX bike, but there's a certain respect (among the users).
There is concern about tagging or graffiti found on the skate
park equipment, but it seems to be common at skate parks,
and as long it isn't threatening or obscene, it shouldn't be much
of a problem, Stokes said.
Skate parks also can be found in DeKalb and Genoa.
But communities such as Sandwich still don't have one.
Sandwich Police Sgt. Mike Nelson told the city council
last spring he is researching how much it would cost in
donations and other funds to bring a skate park to the city.
In Sycamore, one parent recently raised the
question of why the city doesn't have a skate park.
Bill Hutchens said his 16-year-old son now has more
interests than just skateboarding, but when he was younger
the boy and his friends didn't have anywhere to skate.
I drove him all over northern Illinois to skate, he said.
That's what he does. I tried to get him involved in organized
sports, but he preferred to skate. He said, I don't just skate
board just to skateboard. It's what I do.'
Except he has had to find someplace else to do it.
Sycamore Police Chief Don Thomas agreed there is nowhere
for the city's youngsters to skate, unless it's on private property
and with permission.
It's a problem with every city and community (to) prohibit
skateboards in a business district, he said. Walkers don't
want to be run down, and it damages the edges of concrete.
Stokes does offer advice to communities
that may want to build a skate park.
Choose your location wisely, Stokes said. You don't want
it to be so rural it's not patrollable, but (you also don't want it)
so close to residential property that noise is going to be a problem.
Frankie Dazzo, 5, rides his bike at the
Cortland Community Skate Park on Friday.
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