SALEM Waterworth Memorial's skate park will be closed

Complaints about patrons' behavior prompted the decision to close the facility.
SALEM -- Skateboarders will have to find somewhere other than Waterworth Memorial Park to practice.
The city's parks commission voted unanimously Wednesday to dismantle the skate-park stunt equipment as soon as possible and mothball the facility until a more suitable spot can be found next year.
The commission took the action after complaints by residents living near the park and from some city council members.
The problems
Some skateboarders were littering, fighting, vandalizing park property, playing loud music, uttering profanities, keeping younger children from using the park and using the park after its 7 p.m. closing time, residents and officials said.
Police were frequently called to the skate park. The nearly $43,000 facility opened about a year ago.
"It was just bad," Councilwoman Mary Lou Popa, D-1st, said today. "It's a decision that had to be made," she added, noting that the park is in her ward and that she has talked to many residents there who are displeased with it.
Popa was among the first council members to call for the park to be shut down for the year and relocated.
Still in favor
Popa said she favors putting the skate park up again next spring but at a location away from homes.
Councilman Walt Bezeredi, D-4th, chairman of council's parks committee, said the decision to close the skate park will give "everybody a break and let this cool down" while a more suitable site is sought.

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