Frankford: Skateboard park plans tied to a trip to the beach

 

FRANKFORD – Along with texting and social media, skateboarding is part of current Americana culture.

Efforts with volunteer pledges are underway in the town of Frankford to create a dedicated place for skateboarders to enjoy the activity in a safe and permissible setting.

Town resident Dawn Beck is organizing a trip to visit the Epworth Skate Park in Rehoboth Beach later this month. Skateboarding youth are planning to go.

“I don’t know how many that are going to show up altogether to go, because the more we talk about it the more people show up at my house with all of these skateboards,” said Ms. Beck. “At first it was four. Now we’re up to like six, seven, eight.”

Discussion about the possibility of a skateboard park has been rolling throughout town for several months. Earlier this spring several skateboarding youths addressed town council.

The informational trip to Rehoboth will focus on the park, its cost, operation, rules and regulations and required equipment such as helmets and knee pads. That information was requested by Frankford council president Joanne Bacon.

“Dawn, before you invest any money or do anything with this, we’ve got to clear this with our insurance company,” said Frankford councilman Marty Presley.

“I agree with that,” said Ms. Beck. “We are just going to find out things. (Ms. Bacon) told us to get everything together and submit it to the council. We’re taking steps as Joanne told us we had to do.”

“It would have to be a lot of discussion regarding this. We wanted an honest effort made to do this,” said Ms. Bacon. “We will definitely look into it.”

Town property at the community park on Clayton Avenue is the requested location.

“We have got six or seven people who are willing donate the money to help build the skatepark for these kids. The only thing is, we have to have a section down by the park to do it,” said Ms. Beck.

There is no ballpark cost at present.

“That’s what we are going to figure out when we go on our day trip to the skatepark,” said Ms. Beck. “Like I said, we already have people willing to help build this. Their parents; their fathers a lot of them are carpenters or they worked with carpenters. So, they are all willing to do this for free.”

Town resident Jerry Smith stepped forward at council’s July 10 meeting and offered to help with transportation.

Frankford Police Chief Mark Hudson said interaction with skateboarders has become friendly and positive.

“I will tell you the skateboarders have been very polite,” Chief Hudson said at the July 10 council meeting. “A lot of that is because of Dawn, and Dawn’s interaction with them.”

Ms. Beck echoed that.

“When people tell them, ‘No you can’t skate here,’ (skateboarders say), ‘OK, we’re sorry,’ and they move on. I mean they are very polite like Mark says because I told them they could get more bees with honey than they can with vinegar. So, there ain’t no need to be getting ignorant.”

“These kids are complying like you wouldn’t believe,” said Ms. Beck.

“There are some great kids in this town,” said Chief Hudson. “That one group – I don’t know how long ago it was – I pulled up to them and they thought I was going to hassle them. I just started talking to them, saying, ‘What tricks can you guys do?” and I told them I used to skateboard; I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it. Man, ever since then they wave to you. It’s really nice.”

The mission, of course, is to provide youths and older skateboarders a dedicated place to keep them off sidewalks, driveways, private areas and parking lots in the name of courtesy and safety.

“I know with a skateboard park the first thing people think of is liability,” said Chief Hudson. “It’s a controlled environment. There is nothing that is going to be problem-free. But it would be a lot safer if the kids were off the street and had a place to go, a place to gather. You don’t want kids doing certain things but if you don’t give them any options they have no other choices.”

Ms. Beck said the trip will be scheduled once a program at the Rehoboth park is completed.

“As soon as their program is over they are going to tell us everything. Mainly they are going to write everything down and give me a sheet and explain everything to me and the boys,” said Ms. Beck. “I am going to take a picture of Rehoboth sign that says; you skate at your own risk; the town is not liable … the whole nine yards. Helmets, kneepads are mandatory to skate there. They get hurt, it’s not the town.”

Verified parental permission is required for the day trip.

“Before we take them out of this town we have to have written consent. And I have to see the parents sign it so that no kids sign can sign their mommy’s names,” Ms. Beck said. “Then we will go over.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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