The city parks department will set up guidelines for safety and rules of usage.
By KERRI RICKARD
NEWTON FALLS -- Six local skateboarders and a rollerblader met with Councilman Steve Stephens and City Manager Robert C. Eberhart to further discuss the types of ramps and materials to be used in construction of a skate park near the community center.
At their last meeting earlier this month, Stephens asked the group to come back with a prioritized list of what equipment would be most important, along with costs of various materials that can be used to build ramps.
Adrian Lang, 17, of Newton Falls, has been most active in the overall design aspect and obtaining prices of equipment.
Stephens and Eberhart said they are pleased with the teen-agers' work on the park.
"We've been working really hard and I think the final outcome is going to be a winner," said Ryan Stauton, 15, of Newton Falls.
During a council meeting in March, a resolution was passed to allocate $40,000 to build the skate park, with $27,000 set aside for equipment.
Eberhart told the group that officials hope the first phase of the project, the pouring of concrete for the foundation, will begin at the end of this month.
"The advantages of having a skate park in Newton Falls are three-fold," Eberhart said. "One, we'll keep the kids off private property, giving them an area to do their thing, rather than informal venues where skating can be dangerous. Two, recreation takes many facets. Not everyone likes to play basketball, football or baseball. This is a new approach for a growing need.
"Three, this park will evolve into a positive area where the older kids can keep an eye on beginners by keeping the rights and mutual interests of all those involved in mind by protecting the skate park they were involved in building."
Adam Underwood, 14, of Newton Falls, said, "It's good Newton Falls is looking into what the community has to say and is cooperating for our sake."
As for safety and noise level concerns, Eberhart and Stephens said rules and regulations would need to be discussed with the city park and recreation department, along with proper signage.
"The skate park is like any other park or private area where safety is concerned, but the park and recreational department will set up guidelines for use of the equipment and times it can be used. We do not wish to be watchdogs over the skaters. I think we can trust them to use their best judgment and watch out for each other," Eberhart said.
Stephens added, "We believe they'll have fun and not kill themselves."