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Skate park plans: Season passes, helmets



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May 25, 2011 - Ortonville- A village parks committee is being formed with the goal of ending long-standing problems at the Skate Park, as well as addressing more recent problems that have included fights involving large groups of people.

Oakland County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Pete Burkett, commander of the Brandon substation, has offered to lead the committee overseeing the village parks, which besides the Skate Park, includes Narrin, Crossman and Sherman. During the May 23 village council meeting, trustees Tom Peters and Liz Waters were appointed to the parks committee. Township and church officials will also be approached to have a representative on the committee, and citizens may also be asked to be part of the committee.

"We want to make improvements for and on behalf of the community," said Village Council President Wayne Wills. "It's something the village council is concerned about. We want to make a good partnership not just for the local kids, but the local citizens. We do have some out-of-town people using the parks and they are basically bringing in undesirable language, undesirable you-name-it, elements that are reflecting on the parks."

The Village Skate Park has a long history of complaints from neighbors since it opened more than six years ago, chief among them vandalism, profanity, drug use, noise and littering. The park is located at Cedar and Ball streets, in close proximity to several homes. Relocation of the park has been discussed previously, with no suitable alternative found. Helen Edgerton is the current skate park monitor. She is paid by the village to oversee the park from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from noon-8 p.m. Saturday.

Burkett has some plans he would like implemented by the parks committee, including a season pass system specifically for the skate park. With the pass system, skate park patrons would be photographed, fill out an application and sign a behavior contract. If a patron violates their signed contract, their privileges could be suspended for a week, a month, or even an entire year.

"We want to regulate who is skating there," said Burkett. "If we have problem people, we take away the privileges. The skate park monitor will report directly to the committee. If we find people at the park violating rules or causing issues with neighbors, they will be banned. Anyone caught trespassing after hours, if they have cards, will be suspended for the season. Anyone trespassing after hours without a card will be issued tickets. We have issues with fighting at other parks. We will start issuing loitering and disorderly conduct tickets."

Burkett also plans to require that skate park patrons use protective gear, particularly helmets, as he noted the park has a propensity for serious injury daily.

"The big problem this year is the fighting going on," said Burkett, referring to group fights that have been reported. "That in itself is one of the reasons we have to take control— before school is out and the parks are being used all day on a daily basis."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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