City plans to take down skate park - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City plans to take down skate park

RICHMOND (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is in a battle with a group of skaters who had taken over Carter Jones Park on Baimbridge Street. The City said if the skaters don't take down their equipment by next Wednesday, the Parks and Rec Department will do it for them.

It is a matter of the setting sun. Skateboarding doesn't seem to bother anyone during the day, it's after dark that is the problem.

For Nick Ghobashi its more than just a hobby, it's a positive outlet for kids.

"It's challenging it's really hard to do," he said. "Skateboarding is a very creative art form."

Kids like Debbie Fleshman's son. She isn't afraid to drop him off at the park on a daily basis.

"The big guys support the little guys and it's just great," she said.

But despite all the positive things that come out of the organically skate park, not everyone is happy.

"There is about maybe a handful or less," said Debbie.

That "handful or less of detractors" have the attention of City Hall. Attention that led Parks and Rec director Norman Merrifield to order the ramps be taken down, in part, because the activity doesn't stop at night.

"It's not our job to kick people out after dark," said Ghobashi

The city can't do it either. In a statement Merrifield called the situation "unfortunate". He said they have "found that there is no other way to prevent this activity after hours."

The ramps must be gone by Wednesday or the city will do it themselves. Meanwhile Debbie is wondering what happens next.

"I would like to see a good alternative," she said.

An alternative everyone can live with.

The city seems to want that as well. Merrifield said he plans to reach out to the skaters to help them understand the situation and perhaps discuss other options.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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