Sparta to regulate skateboarding

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    SPARTA - Although not yet finished being built, the new skate park in Station Park may very well be closed down. Sparta officials are issuing a warning that unless skaters follow the posted rules, they'll be forced to shut it down. The skate park has been open about six weeks. Skaters are not allowed to use the facility without wearing helmets and elbow and knee pads. However, during a recent visit, most youngsters using the park lacked the safety equipment. "If 90 percent of the people in the park are not doing it, we will be forced to padlock it," said Township Manager Henry Underhill. He explained that the structure was only built because the township would be able to insure it. They now see potential liability problems. Insurance regulations require that the protective gear be worn, and that compliance is the only way the township can achieve continued coverage. Signs have been placed at the skate park detailing the requirements. In addition, the township has been trying to get the word out to local parents to let their children understand the situation. "It's not an arbitrary thing that we made up; it's a requirement," said Underhill. "Insurance companies make these rules because they have experience in these matters." According to Underhill, if voluntary compliance is not met, the park will be shut down for a short period of time to get the attention of the users. If the problem persists, the park could be shut down indefinitely. "I think it's logical to have rules because if someone gets hurt, the township will get sued and they'll be no more park," said Sparta High School student Dan Poinsett, who was at the skate park last Thursday. Last week, the Sparta Township Council officially adopted an ordinance to enforce the regulations. The new ordinance allows the police department to issue summonses to juveniles who violate the established rules.