Six skateboarders have banded together in an effort to convince city of Cottonwood Shores leaders to turn the lights on after dark at the city’s skatepark. Officials previously decided to turn them off to curb illegal activities such as graffiti and underage drinking.
The members of the month-old Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Skatepark Committee are represented by skater Joey Specht, who spoke during the City Council meeting Jan. 7.
“It gets dark at five-thirty, six o’clock,” Specht told council members. “We want to be able to use it by getting the lights back on. We’ll have some meetings with the city first and agree on the expectations.”
Specht said he understands why city leaders turned off the lights but that it’s outsiders, not the skaters, causing the problem.
“You might see some vulgar writing. It’s been graffitied multiple times,” Specht said. “The skateboarders don’t really like the graffiti. I’d be willing to bet that’s not the skateboarders. People go and hang out there. There’s more to it than meets the eye.”
“It’s a combination of a couple of things,” Mayor Donald Orr said. “Underage drinking is one. We’re also finding bottles and cans all over the place and not in garbage cans.”
Group member Michelle Kitchens and Specht have made some repairs to help maintain the skatepark, located at the corner of Maple Lane and Brookwood Drive. They’re also willing to purchase paint on their own to clean up the graffiti.
That commitment should demonstrate to city leaders that the skaters want to work with them on the issue, Specht said.
“I’ve got some skins in the game,” he said, referring to some of the work he’s done at the park. “We’d like to make improvements. The best way is to have people there. People are there to hold you accountable, and you’re not going to do those things.”
Orr agreed on the need to work with the group.
“We’re willing to work with them,” he said. “It’s a matter of meeting with them.”