It’s been about six years since Milton proudly opened it skate park.
Officials were excited. Businesses (which contributed to the project) were excited. And area youth were beside themselves.
Milton became of the first municipalities in the area to offer such a form of recreation to its youth and we began to see skaters showing up from other areas. It was something over which to be proud.
Youngsters worked to improve their abilities and parents could often be seen watching the teens show off their skills. In fact, the facility was so popular, it placed emphasis on the concept and now, most area cities have such a thing.
And now, we’re in danger of seeing the park closed.
City officials have become concerned. More and more, youngsters are using the park, but are not wearing helmets. The concept of a teen flying high in the area, missing the landing and hitting concrete with an unprotected head is enough to concern anyone. And since times are tough economically, we can’t expect the city to hire someone to enforce these rules. The result? Things must be self-enforced or access strongly curtailed.
Milton should not limit access to something this popular. Instead, parents should do their part. Parents need to drill the importance of proper safety equipment in their children. Youngsters need to be able to explain why this safety equipment is crucial. Only if they agree with the importance will they actually use it.
Finally, there are some measures the city can take. Perhaps the city should pass an ordinance making it illegal to be inside the caged area of the park without a proper helmet. The ordinance could include a stiff fine - a fine that, in the case of juveniles, would be payable by the parents. Police officers can be encouraged to “swing through” on a frequent basis. When they see a violation, issue the ticket.
We can all cite examples of how one person can spoil things for others. This is but another example. Skateboarding is fun. It’s extremely popular with area youth. It is also potentially dangerous. Most youngsters understand this and are willing to abide by the rules laid out.
When there are handfuls that refuse, however, it can force reactions no one wants.
Milton has a wonderful facility. Let’s not force the city to deny anyone access.