Schwind: Skate Park Debate 'A Positive Meeting'

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No one in the teen-packed house disagreed that Payson's skate park is often the scene of noise, vandalism, loud and "offensive" boom-box music, vulgarities and users who consistently defy the no-bicycles rule.

And everyone in the gallery agreed that the Rumsey Park facility should stay open.

That was the consensus at Wednesday evening's public town hall discussion of the skate park, its problems, and some possible solutions that could prevent its closure by the Town of Payson's Parks and Recreation Department.

One by one, members of the audience addressed the issues for the benefit of Mayor Ray Schum, Councilmember-elect Dick Reese, interim town manager Kelly Udall, and the members of the Parks and Recreation Department Advisory Board.

"I'm offended by country music, but you never hear anyone complain about that," said one mother, who also suggested that the no-bike rule could be better enforced by installing a "z-gate" at the skate park's entrance.

"I use the skate park, and I hear worse language in my dad's office," said a teenaged boy who thinks a separate area for bicyclists should be constructed for their enjoyment and the safety of the skateboarders.

In the end, Bill Schwind, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said "it was a positive meeting. I think it's positive. I think that, with the advisory board that we've got, we'll come up with a great solution, and in time, everybody will be happy.

"But in the interim, it would really help if we just get a little cooperation from the users, and if they would try to understand some of our frustration ... What we're trying to do is find a happy medium.

"The park is designed for skateboards and the like, and we're just having a really difficult time as to why we can't get cooperation from people on the bicycles," he said. "When you get large, bulky bicycles, it presents a problem. They overrun the joint. That becomes an insurance liability problem for us. But we've talked to some other cities (with skate parks), and basically the bikes are an issue everywhere. So we're in the process of trying to figure out our course of action, and this meeting provided a positive step in that direction."

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