Exploratory skateboard park meeting planned June 26

SALEM – Anyone wanting to talk about the idea of having a skateboard park again in the city can attend a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 26 in council chambers.

Hosting the meeting at city hall, Councilman Rick Drummond said in an email that it’s his belief “that residents of the city of Salem should be the drivers of the creation and maintenance of such a park.”

The topic came up at a city council meeting in May and again during a Parks Committee meeting earlier this month. Drummond chairs the committee and stressed then that people who want a skateboard park would have to step forward to make it happen. He said the city parks department can’t afford to build or maintain a skateboard park.

“I believe the city’s role can be that of an ‘adviser’ where necessary and if assistance is needed for such things as review of city ordinances, the city can do so,” he wrote in the email.

When reached by phone, Drummond said he’s received four phone calls from people interested in becoming involved in the skateboard park project. He can be reached at his council-dedicated number at 330-277-5668. He noted that there were business people and people who seemed serious about the idea.

“If they back up their words with deeds, it could be successful,” he said.

Drummond referred to himself as a facilitator, but said he won’t be driving the project – he said that’s a job for residents who want to form a group to make the skateboard park happen. He said he’ll be happy to help if there’s something that’s needed from the city.

The city had a skateboard park area at one time at Waterworth Memorial Park, but it only last about 10 months, according to Parks Director Steve Faber, who said it became a nuisance and that’s why it was shut down.

According to previous stories about the skateboard park issue, the city parks department set up the temporary skateboard park in 2002, but then disassembled it due to complaints. In 2008, a non-profit group was leading the charge to bring one back to the city, but a location couldn’t be settled upon. A $10,000 grant that had been secured for the project ended up being used on the duck pond.