By EMMALEE C. TORISK
The city’s skate park will remain closed — even after a heated discussion regarding its future during Monday evening’s parks and recreation committee meeting.
The park, at the corner of Elm and Stewart streets near the municipal building, has been closed since May 2012, a result of complaints from neighbors about noise and litter.
Council took no final action on the skate-park issue, but will address it again at a future meeting.
The skate park was built in 2006, funded by $70,000 in donations from residents and businesses. More than 100 city residents helped build it.
Jeff Pantall, a retired detective for the Struthers Police Department, suggested reopening the skate park at its current location, albeit with restricted hours and better surveillance. This reopening, he said, would be temporary — and only until another location for the park has been selected.
“The park is there. It functions,” Pantall said. “You have to give these kids a place to go.”
One location proposed during the meeting was Mauthe Park. Last year, Allied Waste Services offered to move the skate-park equipment for free to Mauthe, but residents opposed the relocation.
Michael Patrick, councilman at-large, disagreed with the move, insisting the park already has enough activity. Like Pantall, Patrick pushed to permanently reopen the current site during city hall business hours — roughly 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“Give it one more shot where it’s at,” he said.
But Carol A. Crytzer, councilwoman at-large, questioned why “everybody was so adamant to keep [the skate park] here.” Finding a better location for the skate park, like Mauthe, is key, she said.
“Mauthe’s a park, and that’s what a park is for: activity,” Crytzer said.
Safety Director Ed Wildes agreed, stating that Mauthe is “the place to have something like that.” He said the new location would be far enough away from residences, and added that it already has custodians and restrooms.
Councilman Tony Fire, D-1st, emphasized that the skate park needs to be moved out of its current location: a residential part of the First Ward.
“Nobody wants the skate park. It’s not OK to shove it in somebody’s front yard. It shouldn’t be 44 feet from somebody’s house,” he said. “It needs to be moved somewhere where there’s no houses.”