Skate park causing concern

By JOY BROWN
STAFF WRITER

Eagle Creek Skate Park, which Findlay officials say is in disrepair, is prompting concern that could lead to its relocation or demise.

Councilman-At-Large Grant Russel, at Tuesday’s council meeting, asked administrators about the park’s safety and whether it is a liability problem.

The park, located between the CSX tracks and Park Street, was built 14 years ago for in-line skaters and skateboarders. At the time, it was hailed as a community success story.

But the story has changed, some council members said Tuesday.

“It’s starting to look like it’s getting pretty run-down. My kid doesn’t go there for a variety of reasons, one of which is upkeep,” Russel said.

“The conditions are very poor, it’s dangerous to use, and there’s a lot of vandalism,” said Bob Nichols, 7th Ward councilman, who serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.

At the Recreation Board’s June 16 meeting, public works Director Matt Stoffel mentioned the possibility of moving the skate park to Riverside Park and having city crews build it using only concrete. Such a project would have to be added to Findlay’s capital improvements funding list.

Law Director Don Rasmussen said the city, with its “recreational user statute,” is protected from lawsuits resulting from park injuries, but that doesn’t mean none would ever be filed.

At the park board meeting, Stoffel said his department plans to make some safety upgrades to the skate park, but a longer-term solution will need to be discussed.

Separately Tuesday, city Auditor Jim Staschiak provided 2015 revenue estimates for council’s review, prior to submitting them to the Hancock County Budget Commission, which is an annual requirement.

Revenue estimates are continually revised, but for next year, Staschiak at this time is predicting $26.8 million in revenue for the general fund. This year’s revenue stream is tracking at $26.7 million for the year, Staschiak reported.

Prior to the budget commission meeting, a city public hearing will be held to allow for comment. That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

Also Tuesday, Russel said there has been discussion about beefing up existing laws to help the city’s Neighborhood Enhancement and Abatement Team do its work.

Spearheaded by 4th Ward Councilman Tom Klein, who didn’t attend Tuesday’s council meeting, the effort is still in the brainstorming stage, Russel said.

“We’ve talked about enhancing NEAT’s enforcement policies” to speed up its work and increase efficiency, Russel said. “That’s still kind of an ongoing conversation. The need is there.”

Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said the administration has no intention of hiring an additional worker for the agency this year, but it could be discussed for next year’s budget.

Brown: 419-427-8496
Send an E-mail to Joy Brown
Twitter: @CourierJoy

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