Place to hang out, hang 10

Skateboarders hope county will add park for them in Towson

June 21, 2000|By Katie Arcieri | Katie Arcieri,SUN STAFF

When Jon Bregel and his friends in the Towson area want a place to practice their skateboard techniques, they don't have a lot of choices: a driveway, a parking lot, a street.

He and other skateboarders hope the Greater Towson Skating Solutions Committee will persuade Baltimore County to build one or more skateboard parks.

"If we got a skatepark, not as many people would be getting in trouble and ruining people's property and stuff," said Jon, 11.

Ben Beacraft, 13, thinks a skatepark is needed so skaters will not grow bored from practicing in the same place.

"Skaters have nothing else to do 'cause we've been skating in the same spot for, like, a year," said Beacraft, who practices his stunts at Stoneleigh Elementary School. With a skatepark, "We wouldn't get in so much trouble."

The skaters have reason to be hopeful. On Friday, the county agreed to discuss a "temporary" program for skateboarders with the Towson Recreation Council.

No decision about the program or possible facilities will be made until representatives of Towson Recreation Council meet with the county Department of Recreation and Parks.

Baltimore County has one skateboard park - in Lansdowne, in the sliver of the county that lies south of the city of Baltimore, too far for skaters in the Towson area.

Republican County Councilman Wayne M. Skinner, who represents Towson, likes the idea of a skateboard park. "I personally would love to see skateboarding facilities in Baltimore County. There's a tremendous demand for it."

Three hundred skateboard parks operate nationwide, with 300 under construction - hardly enough for the growing number of youth entering the sport, according to the International Association of Skateboard Companies.

But more are opening all the time. Last week, Gaithersburg opened a park for skateboarding and in-line skating, and the Board of Estimates in Baltimore City approved spending $52,000 for the city's first public skateboard park.

In the Towson area, the 12-member committee has made a proposal to facilitate skateboard parks and activities - including camps, competitions, and classes - throughout the county. One possible site for a skateboard park is Overbrook Road Park, off Regester Avenue in Idlewylde. Another is the Towson Recreation basketball court in Rodgers Forge.

"We would like to have a skatepark set up where someone will manage there to teach kids the proper way of skating, to teach them the tricks of skateboarding," said John Windsor, Ben Beacraft's grandfather.

"The ones that are managed are the most popular," said Dotsie Bregel, Jon's mother. "Kids are paying to attend these supervised skateparks, coming from an 80-mile radius."

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