To the editor:
To my neighbors in Saranac Lake:
I support the Saranac Lake skateboard park. The kids who started asking for a skatepark 20 years ago are now grown, with their own kids wanting to skateboard. The kids should have a safe, fun place to skate. Built in 2004, the current skateboard park is worn, very limited and sadly gouged.
Saranac Lake’s current skateboard park
In Saranac Lake, we value walking to where we need to go. Think about this from the kid's point of view. The prime age for skateboarding is 9 to 14 years old, elementary and middle school kids, with high school teens as well. These kids walk to get to a skateboard park; they don't drive. They will start from Petrova School, then walk across the village to reach a skateboard park, skate and practice their skills. Afterward, they will then walk home to French Hill, Helen Hill, Park Avenue or Kiwassa before dark. The kids need a safe walking route to reach a skatepark, at a walkable distance.
These are good kids: your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandkids and neighborhood friends. They may not have family to drive them to a park, as many families work multiple jobs. Because the kids are walking, a skateboard park has to be centrally located. Locations like Dewey Mountain, Mount Pisgah, and Lake Colby have been considered and are too far away. More than 20 sites have been evaluated with multiple village boards over eight years. Behind the old village offices is a very acceptable site and has been approved by three boards. The current village board is asking to relocate the site for the new skateboard park. Please support a visible, centrally located skateboard park site that attracts multiple users.
Many towns and villages have put in parks and have learned:
Make the park open and visible, for safety and to attract the kids.
Make the park centrally located, within walking distance from schools and residential areas. via safe sidewalks.
Choose a location that encourages multiple users, with nearby access to bathrooms and a mini-mart.
Skateparks are the safest place for kids to skate; only 5 percent of skateboard injuries occur in skateparks (1). Can't we show our kids that we support and value them and we want them to have fun? A recent study showed that kids are more likely to succeed in life if they feel they are supported and their community invests in them (2). Let's invest in our kids by building a centrally located Saranac Lake skateboard park.
We are ready to invest in them! The kids and the SkatePark Committee, with your help, have raised $69,000, with $30,000 in money, pledges and grants raised in 2012. Sadly, a grant has been lost from moving the site. Another major grant is in jeopardy. We need your help to raise the remaining $40,000.
And we need a defined site. Please join me in supporting a new Saranac Lake skateboard park. Support the village board in choosing a centrally located skateboard park site.
In appreciation of the Saranac Lake kids,
(1) Canadian Amateur Skateboarding Association, www.dropintoskateboarding.com/stats.php
(2) "40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents," Search Institute, Portland, Ore., www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18