LINCOLN, Maine — Plans to set up a skateboarding park temporarily at the Ballard Hill Community Center have been scrapped because a community services officer for the Windham Police Department who specializes in such parks advised against it, town officials said Tuesday.
Officer Matthew Cyr told members of the town’s fledgling skateboard park committee that such recreational endeavors were best located as far from residential neighborhoods as possible, Recreation Department Director Ron Weatherbee said.
“Basically, if it is near just one house, it’s likely to cause problems because of the noise,” Weatherbee said Tuesday. “That was the message.”
Located at 75 Main St., the center has a large field next to it but the parcel of land is nearly surrounded by residential homes, making it a bad fit for a park, Weatherbee said.
“It is too close to homes and will lead to noise and traffic complaints,” Town Manager Lisa Goodwin wrote in her Weekly News newsletter Friday. “Although Lincoln won’t see the 8,000 park visitors that Windham does [with its park], a skate park [in Lincoln] will draw skaters from the surrounding areas.”
Cyr spoke during a presentation on skateboard parks at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Friday. He helps manage Windham’s park, which is taxpayer-funded and employs a full-time worker, four part-timers and a maintenance staff, Goodwin said.
Weatherbee and Goodwin said they were impressed with Cyr’s advice, which draws for the committee a good possible blueprint for the town’s park. Originally the idea of former Lincoln Police Chief William Flagg, the park was to give town youths their own place to skateboard. East Millinocket Police Chief Garold “Twig” Cramp and volunteers constructed one in July at the East Millinocket Public Safety Building, which is not in a residential area.
Without a skateboard park, town police are often forced to shoo skateboarders from public streets, sidewalks and parking lots. It’s a minor but chronic problem or, as Cyr told the committee, a town that lacks a skateboarding park eventually becomes one.
But his advice left the committee stumped. Members couldn’t immediately think of a suitable recreation area that wasn’t within or too close to a residential neighborhood, Weatherbee said. Anyone with ideas is asked to call Weatherbee at 794-6548.