As Foxborough’s Board of Recreation considers permanently closing the town’s skatepark, which hasn’t been open since October 2012, a group of residents have reached out to the board in hopes of restoring – and saving – the same park they founded more than a decade ago.
The citizen group interested in restoring the skatepark, according to The Sun Chronicle, consists of Foxborough residents Kevin Weinfeld, Jeremy Waltzer – both local businessmen – and several other men who have been involved with the skatepark over the years.
Their message to the Board of Recreation, according to the Chronicle, was “the town should make an effort to preserve a facility for kids who may prefer individual sports to team sports.”
To read the Sun Chronicle’s article in its entirety, click here.
Foxborough Town Planner Sharon Wason, who helped bring a skatepark to neighboring Walpole when she served as the planner for that town, said skateparks are an asset to a community’s youth and should not be undervalued.
“My own experience in working to get a skatepark in Walpole was that there are kids in any community who don't quite fit into the cheerleader/student government version of school and that a skatepark, especially where the kids are involved in design, maintenance, monitoring, and training can provide a community for kids who don't have other groups to identify with,” Wason said. “Anything that is inclusive is good in my humble opinion.”
Wason also recalled a point her children’s pediatrician made regarding skateparks many years ago.
“When my children were small, their pediatrician, knowing I was his town planner, would give me his advice on issues related to children and safety,” Wason said. “He had two big issues -- that there has to be a fence between a house and a pool and towns need skateparks. His position on skateparks, based on his patients and coverage in the emergency room, was that kids broke a wrist or their leg at the skatepark where they were encouraged or required to wear appropriate safety gear; when they fell on the street, they suffered much more serious injuries, including head injuries or worse.”
Wason added the American Academy of Pediatrics “recommends communities should continue to develop skateboarding parks and encourage youth to practice there.”
“These parks are preferred to home-constructed ramps and jumps, because they are more likely to be monitored for safety and separate the skateboarder from pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic,” Wason cited. “Existing guidelines for such parks should be standardized."
Foxborough Recreation Director Debbie Giardino told the Foxboro Reporter in April the park is currently unsafe and requires one or more skating ramps to be removed – and not replaced – due to costs.
"We are phasing out the skate park, due to financial constraints in maintaining it and repairing it," Giardino told the Reporter. "We will be keeping it closed until we are sure that we have taken every step to make it safe."
To read the Reporter’s article in its entirety, click here.
The next Board of Recreation meeting is Monday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m.
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