Morristown is losing nearly its entire skate park, but could get a new one down the road.
Until then, a bit of the existing park will be preserved to give anyone on four wheels at least one spot to ride after the rest of the old park is torn down.
The Morristown Select Board closed the park, which sits in the parking lot at Oxbow Riverfront Park, a month ago because it’s no longer safe.
“It’s a safety hazard currently; I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Town Administrator Dan Lindley told the board last Monday, May 20. “It’s in bad shape.”
Nearly 30 residents were at the meeting to deliver a clear message: We want a skate park.
Nearly all of them agreed that the current park is no longer safe — “It’s not a place I want to bring my 6-year-old,” one man said from the back of the room.
But they want a new one somewhere in town, and the majority told the board they are willing to help make it happen.
The old park was built with just such community involvement, one audience member said, and a similar grassroots effort is probably needed to build and maintain a new one.
Most of the people interested in the project have kids who skateboard, but a few adults said they still take to the occasional ramp themselves.
A good skate park is a great recreation option for young people and something they can take pride in, one audience member said.
There was widespread support for a concrete park, which will hold up longer than wooden structures and isn’t likely to give skaters as many slivers, which several kids said was a regular problem at the old park.
Concrete parks are expensive, though, and several people suggested contacting the Tony Hawk Foundation, a charity that aims to bring skate parks to communities that can’t afford them.
Alison Link, a member of Morristown’s Parks & Recreation Committee, told people the group has formed a subcommittee to study the future of Oxbow Park, and that committee or another like it could start a search for a new home for a skate park.
Link said the skate park was a big hit with kids while their parents were at events like Wednesday Night Live, but the location’s not great — it’s across the parking lot from the rest of the Oxbow, near the Lamoille River and out of sight.
“I’d like to see it in a safe place,” she said.
“I think the location is unsafe,” said Mary Ann Wilson, Morristown’s former town clerk.
Board member Eric Dodge urged people to stay involved.
“This is not a ‘this summer’ project,” Dodge said. “I’d encourage you all to meet up with the rec committee. Become involved, and stay involved.”
A new location for the skate park received quite a bit of support, partly because it could be safer and larger, and partly because Oxbow Riverfront Park needs more parking.
“Look around, be creative,” Dodge said about a location.
The current skate park will be demolished, except for a few structures that can still be rideable with a bit of work. Lindley has asked a few residents to figure out which sections might be easily salvageable “to hold people over” until a new park materializes.
One person said a temporary park is a plus, because right now people can’t skateboard on town roads, in the municipal parking lot or even at the school.
The goal is to tear down unsalvageable portions of the park before the first Wednesday Night Live on June 7.
• The board approved a trial period for ATVs and other four-wheelers to drive on a short section of Silver Ridge Road between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. this summer, adhering to the 25-mph speed limit. A local ATV club requested the move, since it will allow people on Hyde Park’s town roads, which are all open to ATVs, to buy gasoline at Mac’s Market.
Some residents of Silver Ridge Road worried about the noise caused by the machines, and town officials said the trial period can be revoked at any time.
• Paving along sections of several town roads has finally been completed, Lindley told the board, and he’s seeking bids for more paving when the new budget year starts July 1. On the list is is another mile of Randolph Road, the lower section of Bridge Street between the bypass and the first bridge, Pleasant Street, and the Brigham Street parking lot.