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A generation of skatepark requests later ...

November 27, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

Nearly 16 years ago, we packed the old village board room where Myriad RBM now stands - lobbying community leaders for a permanent skateboard park. In those early days, we were probably lobbying as much for collective legitimacy as we were for a space to practice kickflips and lipslides. We knew what we wanted but had no idea how to get there.

Fast-forward to today - over thousands of late-afternoon curb sessions, hundreds of broken boards and more than a few rolled ankles - and there's a whole new generation of skaters still lobbying community leaders for a permanent Saranac Lake skateboard park. In the interim, we've gained our collective legitimacy. If skateboarding hasn't exactly been legalized, it has been largely decriminalized. The Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee, led by the indefatigable Peggy Wiltberger, has spent the better part of the last decade engaging the public, raising funds, weighing draft designs and scouring Google's satellite maps for a suitable, central location.

At least four such sites have been identified; any of the four will work. A fifth site, near Pelkey Lane, may hold the most promise of all. There is, of course, much work left to do. Potential donors prefer certainty, and professional skatepark design firms mandate it. By selecting a permanent site for the Saranac Lake SkatePark sooner rather than later, our elected officials have the chance to not only solve a protracted recreational dilemma but also enhance the desirability of our community going forward.

Every time I drive through a city or town and stumble upon an unexpected skatepark, my heart skips a beat. I'm 27 years old. Some of the skaters in attendance at that first meeting have since gone on to become engineers, military service members, artists, chefs, musicians and teachers. A few have gotten married, and a few even have kids of their own. And once we get this park built - permanently and professionally - I'm certain that more than a few will be back to check it out. Under the late-afternoon sun, they'll trade stories and tricks with a third generation of Saranac Lake skateboarders, to whom a first-rate skatepark will already have become second nature.

All that's needed to keep it on track is a decision.

Matthew Scollin

Saranac Lake



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