EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Earl Stanley spent most of his skateboarding life fleeing Police Chief Garold Cramp.
Schenck High School, downtown parking lots, cul-de-sacs, neighborhood streets and sidewalks — for years, Cramp has responded to business and resident complaints by shooing Stanley and other skateboarders from almost every place in town with more than 10 feet of asphalt.
Both are tired of the chase. That’s why Cramp and Stanley, a 33-year-old tattoo artist and owner of Red Lotus Tattoo on Main Street, are creating a skateboard park at the town Public Safety Building on Route 11.
“No one else was really doing anything with it,” Cramp said Wednesday of the languishing skatepark project, which has changed hands several times since 2005.
Besides providing local youths with a worthwhile recreational activity, the park will relieve police of a nagging problem in which neither side is really at fault, Cramp said.
“Skateboarding is really noisy. I can understand why somebody wouldn’t want it right in front of their house or their business,” he said. “But the kids would say, ‘So where can we go?’ It’s a legitimate question.”
Using about $1,600 of $3,000 in funds raised by the previous efforts, Cramp and Stanley ordered ramps, fun boxes, skate benches and a flat rail for the park, which will be located near basketball courts on the east side of the building.
“Given the space we have, that’s about the best we could do — and with our limited funds,” Stanley said.
More pavement will also be laid, Stanley said.
The Board of Selectmen approved the funds’ use at a meeting earlier this month, Cramp said.
The equipment should arrive within two weeks. Volunteers — mostly adult skateboarders like Stanley, skateboarders and their parents, and Cramp — will help build the park.
Stanley and Recreation Department Director Frank Clukey think the location is perfect. It’s flat, well-lit, far enough from homes and businesses to not present noise or crowd problems, and couldn’t be closer to the emergency service providers needed for security or accidents.
“You can’t have a better spot,” Stanley said.
Stanley and A.J. Wills, a 27-year-old local man and skateboarder, estimated that there are 15 to 20 skateboarders in East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket who would enjoy using the skatepark. The park will probably be challenging to beginning and intermediate skateboarders, Wills said, but can be expanded with more daunting obstacles.
“I can build them myself,” Wills said.
Both Wills and Stanley plan to skate in the park once it is built, they said.
Cramp won’t, however.
“I barely have enough coordination to stand up quickly,” he said wryly.
Anyone interested in donating money or volunteering to help with the park may call Cramp at 746-3555 or Stanley at 746-9205.