Mayor Bill Latchford’s dream of bringing a skate park to Tyrone may be a step closer to a reality, as he suggested a new location for the proposed 50 by 20 foot portable venue during the fall and spring seasons.
Tyrone Borough Council members gave consensus Monday evening to purchase and then potentially install the skatepark in the back quarter pool parking lot at Reservoir Park during the seasons when the pool is not open, yet it is still suitable weather for skateboarding — fall and spring.
“This would allow us to move forward with this and provide some recreation for the action sports folks in Tyrone,” Latchford told council members.
Benefits to having the skate park at Reservoir include restroom facilities, other activities for kids nearby, such as playgrounds and the basketball court, and ample parking.
Earlier in the year, council members discussed locating the portable skate park at the Park Avenue Playground, but they were met with concerns from those area residents.
Reservoir Park seemed to be a viable option, as that neighborhood is already accustomed to activities going on at the pool, pavilions and throughout the facilities.
Latchford said, “This would be a low cost entry into a skatepark in Tyrone.”
Council member David Snyder said, “I love the idea.”
However, Latchford was met with opposition this week from two neighbors near the proposed location.
Latchford said, “The two neighbors that are around 150 feet away are not in favor of the approved temporary location of the portable skate park. I believe I have to ask council if we can still move forward with this project even though the neighbors are against it. I will add that the two neighbors reside in Snyder Township.”
Latchford said that about 10 to 12 kids could play at the park at once. “We have plenty of space, so depending on how we arrange the ramps and rails, there can be more users of the facility.”
Scooters and skateboards would be permitted, but the structure will not be large enough to accommodate BMX bikes.
“There would not be a top age limit, as all are courteous and friendly toward each other. There are adults who were those kids wanting and waiting for the Borough to come through for them. I want them to have access also. The equipment will be durable and challenging enough for many skaters. There will probably be a minimum age to make sure those kids are not overwhelmed by the older skaters. I hope to have skate clinics and times for all ages though. It is my hope that I can get some of the more mature skaters to come in for a couple of hours mentoring the young skaters. This would be a parent participating activity also even if just being there and being supportive,” Latchford said.
The project will cost the borough about $6,500, which will include a shed to hold it. Council members had already voted to approve the cost out of community enhancement funds. The stumbling block continues to be the location.
Council members will continue to work to find a place in for the skate park, they said at Monday’s meeting, should the Reservoir Park plan not come to fruition.
Mayor Latchford said, “I am super excited about this chapter hopefully closing in. I am certainly hoping the users of the facility is appreciative and courteous. I am hoping that this skate park will quash the stigma or stereotype of skate parks bringing a bad element to an area. I have enjoyed the time I have spent at both Huntingdon and Philipsburg’s Skate facilities. I am sure it is as fun to participate in as it is to be a spectator.”
At Monday’s meeting, council member Sarah Jane Miller asked if the park would be monitored.
Mayor Latchford said that he is working to find responsible adults who will help put the equipment together and monitor the skatepark.
The Daily Herald asked the Mayor if the adults will be required to have security clearances, as they will be around children. Latchford said, “I personally have no problem with asking the helpers to do this. There is nothing more important than the safety of our youngest and most vulnerable. At this time the only help will be volunteers assisting in putting up and taking down of the equipment.”