Skate park demolished due to vandalism

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Where once there stood a skate park, complete with ramps and benches, now there is nothing more than an empty lot. Last week, city workers demolished the park that stood in the shadow of the water tower near the river.

Brittany Carter and three of her friends &8212; Sam Moore, Suzanne Smith and Christopher Anderson &8212; hung out at the skate park nearly every day after school. When they learned the park was demolished, they along with their fellow skaters wanted to voice their discontent.

After meeting with Mayor Cecil P. Williamson, Carter and her friends were told the park had been taken down because of continued vandalism and abuse &8212; a fact Carter and her friends didn&8217;t deny.

With the park gone, Carter and her friends have had to find new places to hang out and a new place to practice the sport they are passionate about.

In an interview Wednesday, Williamson confirmed the skate park was dismantled because of &8220;unsavory words&8221; being written on the park. Furthermore,

a bench and trash can the city placed at the park were found thrown in the river.

Mark Pettus, director of Parks and Recreation, said the park was put up in the late 90s after the department did some studies to see what sporting trends might be popular.

Since the city put up the skate park, Pettus said it has become a &8220;maintenance headache&8221; with all the repairs and clean up they had to do.

When asked if there were any plans to put up a new skate park, Pettus said they had not investigated a new location for it. Pettus said the ideal location is by the river, which is in close proximity for children to walk to it from downtown.

Since speaking with the mayor, the group of students have started a petition to have the park rebuilt. They are also expected to address the city council at Thursday&8217;s meeting.