Skate park move

In an effort to curb profanity and vulgar language at the skating park from being heard by visitors to Veterans Memorial Park and the surrounding residents, Wapakoneta city officials proposed possibly moving the equipment to a paved section of Harmon Park.

Responding to complaints from residents along South Wentz and South Rauthland streets, Wapakoneta City Council Parks and Recreation Committee members Thursday directed city administrators to measure the area devoted to the skatepark equipment at Veterans Memorial Park and compare it to the area of the basketball court next to the tennis courts at Harmon Park.

“We are going to have them look at moving the skate park equipment from Veterans Memorial Park to an area at Harmon Park and see if it will fit,” said Wapakoneta 1st Ward Councilor JimNeumeier, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee. “This will enable us to delay a decision on changing the hours that Veterans Memorial Park is open because the existing hours are so successful.”

Residents requested the closing hour be changed from 11 p.m. to dusk, but committee members did not want to affect organized sports activities during the summer so the issue was tabled.

Neumeier said he believes moving the skating equipment will better serve the community because youth who likely use the skateboard park probably attend the Wapakoneta Middle School.

The Harmon Park location also would isolate the skateboard equipment from residences and would permit for a greater degree of monitoring by police officers.

Wapakoneta 2nd Ward Councilor Dan Lee fought against storing the equipment.

“I would hate to lose the investment in the skating equipment,” Lee said. “I would like to see us use it somewhere whether it is at Harmon Park or Veterans Memorial Park, but I hate to lose the investment we have made in that equipment.”

The equipment consists of five pieces and two grind rails.

Lee suggested having the basketball court measured to determine if it could house the equipment. The city purchased the ground last year.

Lee also suggested if the equipment could be moved then converting the skating area into a parking lot. He said this may relieve the parking problem on South Wentz, South Rauthland and Douglas streets since the parking lot is closer to the soccer fields, than the existing parking lot.

To accommodate this, it would require extending South Wentz Street into the park. This was a move which raised objections during Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting.

“I am not keen on opening that up because it might create more problems,” Neumeier said. “Let’s take this one step at a time — let’s see if it is feasible to move the equipment.”