April 21, 2018
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Teens organize to create skate park

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

BUCKSPORT — The world of half-pipes and pyramids, stair sets and roll-ins may be foreign for much of the population.

But for a group of local youngsters, those are the essential pieces they use to  jump, stall, slide across and jump over with scooters, bikes or skateboards — all the elements that go into a skateboard park.

Some of those teens have begun to organize an effort to create such a park at the town’s ice skating rink. The town has given them permission to use the site until ice skating season and the young daredevils already have put together a makeshift facility using bits and pieces of materials, almost all of it secondhand, and some of it already falling apart.

They want to do more and they’re hoping to get support from townspeople to help them.

Working with the town’s recreation and police departments, the teens have scheduled a meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Jewett School conference room and are hoping that people — youngsters and adults — will show up to learn about what’s going on.

“We want to let people know what we’re trying to do and that we need help,” said Alan Abbott, 18. “Everything up there, we’ve done ourselves; but it’s not big enough.”

The skate park is needed, because the activities — skateboarding, biking and scootering — are popular in town and those who want to do participate don’t have anywhere else to go. They get yelled at for skating or biking downtown.

“They don’t want us on the streets ’cause they think we’re causing trouble,’’ Abbott said.

Police Chief Sean Geagan has been involved from the start and he acknowledged that police officers chase skateboarders and bikers from areas in the downtown. For that reason, he said, the skate park is something that’s needed in Bucksport.

“It’s not right for them to be doing their tricks, jumping on picnic tables or the dock or the sidewalks in town; so they need a place to go,” Geagan said Monday. “This makes sense. There is enough interest to have something like that — a place where they can go to do their sport.”

People sometimes don’t think of biking or skateboarding as a sport because it’s not a school sport, said Becca Gray, 16, one of the teens working on the skate park project.

“It’s something you do on your own time,” Gray said. “That’s  more important.”

“It’s just like any other sport,” added Ryan Nevells, 18. “It’s just something we like doing.”

Barb Ames, the youth program coordinator with the town’s recreation department, said this effort is an opportunity for the teenagers to develop something in town that they can be proud of.

“If they can get this off the ground and get it going, it will be something they can take pride in,” she said. “If they can get the right equipment, there would be so many kids there.”

Chief Geagan added that the Police Department is willing to help police the skate park, but added that the boarders and bikers will have to police it on their own.

“This is an opportunity for them to learn some leadership skills and responsibility,” he said. “It makes sense for us to support it, but it’s got to have rules and they have to go by those rules. They need to respect it and police it themselves. We’ll police it too and if they need our help, we’ll be there.”

Ames said the teens already have had a couple of adults volunteer to help but said they’re hoping to get more youths and adults involved. That’s the reason for Wednesday’s meeting.

Abbott said they don’t have any set goal for fundraising at this point.

“We don’t want to be greedy,” he said. “ Whatever we can get is good: Obstacles that look like a park bench — bring it, we’ll find something to do with it. Traffic cones, anything. That’s what a skate park is.”

For more information about the skate park, contact the Bucksport Recreation Department, 469-3518.

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