Some Auburn residents have been hoping for a skate park in the Barrow County town. But the majority of the council members voiced opposition to the idea at a meeting Thursday night.
No vote was taken and the matter will be part of future city discussions on the city’s recreation agenda.
Council members Dorissa Shackelford, Peggy Langley and Donna Scouten said they are not in favor of the city building a skate park.
Mary Grace Vogel, chairman of the Auburn Parks and Leisure Commission, presented a list of items to be included in the Parks Family Sports Complex and a skate park was number three on the list.
A dozen kids, some with their skateboards in hand, and parents attended Thursday’s meeting. Most filed out after the council discussion on the park.
“Most cities have a problem with this,” Shackelford said. “A skate park will be inviting gang activity and drug users.”
Council member Sally Brown said, “We already have gangs. Our citizens keep coming in asking for this. I think you are ignoring this.”
Brown said she has talked with people from other towns where the parks have been a huge success.
“The city qualifies for everything for a Tony Hawk Foundation Grant,” Brown said.
Langley said she called around and some of the other skate parks are charging a fee to get in order to keep an adult on the scene. Brown said the city has two or three officers patrolling and the city could and would set a time for the park to close daily.
“Most of the people who are opposed to this skate park don’t have kids,” Brown said.
Mayor Linda Blechinger said, “Each of you have to vote your conscience.”
Other items that could be included in the sports complex are: 10-feet wide trails; five ballfields (on Pony League and four regular ballfields); basketball, volleyball and tennis courts; an activity center with concession stand; extra parking; plaza fountain; outdoor swimming pool with changing rooms/storage; two playgrounds with park benches/tables; detention pond; two entrances/exits and exercise cells along the trails.
“I think a pool would be sitting empty most of the year and I think it would be a waste of money,” said Brown.
Scouten said, “I would much rather see an activity center before I would a skate park.”