Alderman calls Frederick skate park a mistake

December 09, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Frederick Alderman Jon F. Kreissig told the Taneytown City Council last night that building a skate park in his city "turned out to be a dreadful mistake," but that he did not regret trying to give area skaters a place to practice their sport.

Mr. Kreissig said Frederick's negative experience with skateboarders was the result of a few "bad kids" ruining a good idea.

Taneytown's council has been considering a skate park since several skaters petitioned for a place to skateboard in town. The council met last night at a workshop to discuss the park proposal and other issues for Monday's regular meeting.

Four teens -- Daniel Harmon, 15, David Hess, 16, Spencer Yelton, 14, and Brian Sanders, 15 -- attended the September council meeting to determine the best way present their ideas to the council. The boys and their unofficial leader, Joe Dougherty, 15, gave the council a proposal in October and said places for kids to ride skateboards are scarce in Taneytown.

Joe, David and Daniel sat quietly in the back of the council chambers last night as Mr. Kreissig detailed the history of two skating areas in his city. He said he became a skate park expert while he spearheaded Frederick's efforts to provide a facility.

One skate park had been closed by the time Mr. Kreissig became an alderman in 1986, he said, and soon after that the city outlawed skateboarding in the historic district and began stiffly regulating it in the rest of Frederick.

Mr. Kreissig said he decided that the skateboarders needed a place to go and persuaded the city to build a $20,000 facility in the parking lot of Grove Stadium, away from homes and pedestrians. Soon after that facility opened in the fall of 1991, police complained that kids were climbing over the fence after hours to skate. It was closed in February 1992.

"We gave it a try, and it didn't work," Mr. Kreissig said.

The alderman agreed with David's comment that Frederick is bigger than Taneytown and that the problems Frederick experienced have not occurred in Taneytown.

Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. thanked Mr. Kreissig for his input, but noted that it was unsolicited.

"I consider this a victory," Joe said. "He countered almost every bad thing he said with a good point, how not all skaters are bad."

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