LINCOLN, Maine — Like East Millinocket Police Chief Garold Cramp, William Flagg is tired of shooing skateboarders away from downtown.
That’s why the Lincoln police chief is looking to partner with town youth and any town civic group that can help create a skate park somewhere in town where youngsters can go to skate instead of skating downtown, where their presence is uniformly regarded as a nuisance, Flagg said.
“I have met with several kids downtown and asked particular kids to become involved,” Flagg said Tuesday. “I am waiting for two or three to come forward. Realistically, I would like to have something operational by next spring — that’s the goal.”
Cramp and Earl Stanley, a 33-year-old tattoo artist and owner of Red Lotus Tattoo on Main Street in East Millinocket, worked with several Katahdin region teens to create a skateboard park at the East Millinocket Public Safety Building on Route 11. The park was finished earlier this month.
Using about $1,600 of $3,000 in funds raised by previous efforts, Cramp and Stanley ordered ramps, fun boxes, skate benches and a flat rail for the park, which is located near basketball courts on the east side of the building.
Besides providing local youths with a worthwhile recreational activity, the park is relieving 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 has said. “But the kids would say, ‘So where can we go?’ It’s a legitimate question.”
Flagg employs the same basic rationale.
“It’s a sport that is ever increasing in popularity with teenagers. It’s not just a fad,” Flagg said. “There are a large number that are good kids just looking for a place to skateboard. It’s a few around town that cause problems.”
Lincoln police are regularly shooing skateboarders from downtown. Having a park would eliminate that problem plus put the kids in a place where police can watch them easily, Flagg said.
Flagg is working with Recreation Department Director Ron Weatherbee to research other efforts around the state, develop cost figures and fundraising options, and scout possible locations, he said.
Anyone interested in helping create the park can telephone Flagg at 794-8455 or Weatherbee at 794-6548.