Skater boys find themselves on thin ice in new city parking lot

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Any project three long years in the making certainly seems worth capturing on film for posterity sake.

So it was that Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and her City Hall intern happily made their way over to the long-awaited Southcourt parking lot at Walnut, Indiana and Jackson streets the other afternoon, destined to document a project that began as a proposed parking garage and ended up as one of two new free surface lots in downtown Greencastle.

Before DePauw University Bonner Scholar Eric Bruynseels, the photographer/intern accompanying the mayor, could even get out of the car, Murray had slammed the door of her black Prius, drawing a bead on a couple of teenagers making the new blacktop lot their latest playground.

The new city parking lot at South Indiana and Walnut streets is packed with vehicles on a recent afternoon in downtown Greencastle.

"Within two hours of the parking lot being open, we found two skateboarders ramping off the stairs," she told the City Council Tuesday night.

"The South Court parking lot was cleared out, swept and open," she told the Banner Graphic, "so Eric and I headed over to take some pictures of the lot for an upcoming state Stellar meeting. We crossed Indiana Street and there they were."

Seems that while city officials and downtown businesses had been waiting three years for the parking lot -- part of the city's Stellar project -- to come to fruition, so apparently had a couple of brazen local skateboarders.

The two boys, probably 16-18 years old, were "ramping off the sidewalk, over the steps and into the parking lot," the mayor described. "Dangerous indeed and potentially injurious to body and vehicles."

Not to mention possibly damaging to smooth, new asphalt and concrete, the curing of which has had city officials on pins and needles like an anxious vintner awaiting his latest crop of juicy grapes.

After the bold teenagers were ordered to cease and desist in no uncertain terms -- "we had a very frank discussion about why that's not OK," Murray offered -- her trusty intern noted their names as the mayor told the teens she hoped never to see them on the city lot cavorting on skateboards ever again.

"Fortunately," Mayor Murray pointed out, "since the lot is being well used, 'open' times for skateboarding may be hard to find.

"We've waited a long time for these lots," she added, admittedly discouraged by the almost immediate misuse by the young skateboarders.

However, what is encouraging, the mayor noted, is that people are already using the new parking lots regularly, even though only the base coat and temporary striping have been applied to the asphalt surfaces at the Southcourt lot and its companion Market Street site just east of the Moose Lodge between Washington and Franklin streets.

With more work yet to be done on the lots once the weather turns warmer, the sites still lack signage, including entrance and exit markings, as well as likely a "no skateboarding" sign.

The new lots provide 52 spaces in the Southcourt lot and 45 in the Market Street lot, which includes the eight parallel spaces adjacent to Market Street.

"The good news," Mayor Murray said, "is people are using them and there are now more spaces (available) on the square."

City Attorney Laurie Hardwick agreed with that assessment, noting that the Southcourt lot, which is just a block south of the square,"was packed today (Tuesday)."

Ditto Councilman Mark Hammer, whose office is little more than a block east of the Southcourt parking area. He said his wife Jeanette is among those already making parking there a habit.

"She's been using it every day since Day One," he said. "It's not that far of a walk from our office."

Especially via skateboard.

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  • "... the mayor described. "Dangerous indeed and potentially injurious to body and vehicles."

    Not to mention possibly damaging to smooth, new asphalt and concrete, the curing of which has had city officials on pins and needles like an anxious vintner awaiting his latest crop of juicy grapes. " .......uhhhhhh.....

    If you are really worried about the condition of your asphalt then you better pour it indoors and not let anyone park on it. If you can liken the curing of asphalt to the ripening of grapes, then congratulations, you live the single most boring place on earth. When your first thought as a Mayor is to berate some teens for finding some fun in your boring town where a new parking lot makes headlines rather than taking that opportunity to find out what you can do for them(the Mayor works for the people that elected them, not the other way around), then you are probably need to re-evaluate your leadership role.

    In all seriousness, every resident is your responsibility. I bet there are public baseball fields, public soccer fields, and even a golf course. Why not a skatepark?

    Skateboarding has more participants than any of those other activities(source S.M.A.A. study from 2008 and the numbers have grown since then). A quality, poured-in-place custom skatepark requires less maintenance than any of those other facilities. It will be more used and report fewer injuries than those as well(I've been involved with two separate groups who have successfully had two public parks built and I've researched this extensively).

    I urge the skateboarders and the city to get together and have a rational, mature talk with the city. City officials, take the wants and concerns of the skaters seriously. These people generally consist of a diverse group of voters and soon to be voters. They are the problem solvers and the doers of the next generation. Skaters, I urge you to be rational and work with the city on this. City government doesn't have to be your enemy. I've dealt with some absolutely obtuse officials but with careful and respectful dialog, we came to a point where everyone is proud of our skateparks.

    -- Posted by Kris Gurley on Thu, Feb 12, 2015, at 10:07 AM
  • Ummmm....we have a very nice skatepark! Apparently you haven't done too much research.

    -- Posted by 3cutekids on Thu, Feb 12, 2015, at 10:28 AM
  • hmmmmm, apparently you aren't from Greencastle. We have a very nice skatepark. Therefore, that's where they need to do their skateboarding!!

    -- Posted by Rainbow6 on Thu, Feb 12, 2015, at 10:52 AM
  • Most trips to the park throughout the summer reveal to me the skatepark being very busy. Including the adjoining shelter house, complete with the strong aroma of marijuana burning, obviously underage kids smoking, and empty liquor bottles and beer cans. Oops forgot to mention the loud music coming from the cars parked every which way and the "say something, I dare you" stares and glares as you walk by. Maybe that's just bad luck that I met that group of people instead of the skateboarders who portray themselves as fun loving sports figures just needing their own space to hang out and exercise without causing any trouble. Skateboarding isn't the crime unless you are trespassing or doing something else illegal too. Your rights to skateboard don't supersede my rights to quietly enjoy the park too. If you need a place to skateboard so bad, build a private skate park on your own property and don't let anyone in that you don't want there. But first get a job, save some money, but some property, get insurance, and quit ******** that it's a right that's owed to you by the city to support your hobby. If there was an entry fee and supervision, that place would be empty....

    -- Posted by Sickofthesystem on Thu, Feb 12, 2015, at 12:39 PM
  • Skate Boys? We are Skateboarders ....marginalizing skateboarding... not a smart move... that's some serious footloose-era reporting there.....


    -- Posted by BLEEDSKATEBOARDING on Thu, Feb 12, 2015, at 10:15 PM
  • I don't live in greencastle but I've been to the skatepark many times since it opened. it's actually a good and fun park. I would say 90% of the kids in the shelter house smoking weed or in cars with music blasting are not people actually using the skatepark for it's intended purpose. unfortunately! skateparks attract many "hang a rounders".

    -- Posted by trickstar on Fri, Feb 13, 2015, at 9:45 AM
  • I'd go so far as to say that most, if not all skateboarders don't sign up to vote. lol Notice nothing was said about "having a job" or "contributing to society" when likening the comments to "footlose-era". At least they watch TV.

    -- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Feb 17, 2015, at 11:41 AM
  • I love the new parking lot, it's a great location, and it's pretty. I also take my child to the skatepark, which is a fun place to be for both me and my son, I feel lucky to live in a town that has one.

    -- Posted by localmom44 on Tue, Feb 17, 2015, at 11:49 AM
  • How can one be so stereotypical. They are PEOPLE who skateboard. Notice the word PEOPLE. Each PERSON is a unique INDIVIDUAL.

    I am sad to say I live in a town that is so uncultured (not open-minded), corn fed, and rude. Get out more.

    Learn to accept PEOPLE even if they are NOT LIKE YOU!!

    Skateboarding is not a crime, as mentioned earlier.

    Oh & the "skate-boarders" are actually really nice guys who would probably go out of their way to help anyone. They do have jobs & personal responsibilities just as anyone else does. Next time think about that before you react with harsh intentions.

    Just because they choose to get out and enjoy life, all through out the year, instead of deciding to hibernate because its cold out, eat, and watch television. (And we continue to wonder what is wrong with our society)

    At least some have the right intentions & not let life pass them by. They are doing what they enjoy.

    -- Posted by BeingMindful on Wed, Feb 18, 2015, at 9:50 AM
  • I guess I should say biased* instead of uncultured.

    -- Posted by BeingMindful on Wed, Feb 18, 2015, at 11:06 AM
  • How sad that the small minded people have such feelings about skateboarders. My son enjoyed the skatepark in GC on many occasions. However as his skills increased so did the boredom from the lack of a good quality skatepark. The comments "we have a nice skatepark" are obviously not coming from someone that has used it, or known any competitive skateboarders that like to be challenged (as does everyone that participates in a sport)

    How pathetic of those to assume that all skateboarders are unemployed, rowdy non voting hooligans. I will have you know that my son maintained a 3.8 GPA in High School while working a pt job and he is now a freshman at IUPUI with great grades while working a pt job in Avon and living in his own apt with friends.

    Maybe if the small minded people of this town would actually invest in a place (like a YMCA) for the youth of this town, maybe they wouldn't bother all of the "perfect" people in this town that live such dull boring lives and expect everything to be quiet and boring, everyone is different so embrace the differences and go to another park if you don't like the noise!!

    -- Posted by Chickiebev on Wed, Feb 18, 2015, at 10:02 PM
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