Skatepark debate rolls on

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The residents of Huntwork Gardens do not care what method the city of Pickerington uses to silence the noise from the local skatepark, just as long as the banging stops.

The owner of the apartments, Huntwork Construction, filed suit against the city in May claiming that Pickerington recognized that the Sycamore Park skate facility violated the city’s own noise ordinance, yet did nothing to stop it.

Huntwork’s attorney Steve Davis, said that his client met with the city on several occasions to discuss options for blocking or absorbing the sound, but the city pursued none of them citing cost. The residents "endure constant pounding on a nice summer day into the evening and (the only city response is to have) meeting, after meeting, after meeting."

One suggestion was to muffle the ramps by filling the hollow drums at an estimated cost of $7,500.

The city claims that any remedy is too expensive, yet many options cost less than $10,000, Davis said.  The lawsuit will cost two to three times that amount.

Attorney Scyld Anderson, who along with Mark Landes represents the city of Pickerington in the case, said that the city offered to dampen the ramps’ sound, but that "Mr. Huntwork said that wasn’t good enough."

Anderson said the city didn’t want to spend somewhere around $8,000 and still get sued for more than $25,000.

The apartments are at least 30 years old while the skatepark is coming up on three or four years in its current location, Davis said.

 

The city claimed that moving the park would also be too expensive, though they did it before because of noise complaints.

 

"What do they suggest – we move the houses?  It doesn’t make any sense."

Anderson said the Sycamore site is the city’s first permanent skatepark built upon a concrete slab.  Prior equipment provided by the Parks Department was comprised of temporary hand-made ramps.

It is not the responsibility of the residents to instruct the city how to abate the nuisance, Davis said.

 

"The government should work for its people.  We just want them to fix the problem. Skateparks across the country have found materials and locations which do not interfere with residents enjoying their homes," Davis said.  "The (idea that) the only city in the world where it cannot be done is Pickerington should be looked at with great skepticism."

"The park is well-used," Anderson said.  "The kids enjoy it and we think its important to give them a place to skate with permanently installed equipment. It’s a park the city can be proud of."

It was reported in the July 30 Southeast Messenger that the city built the skatepark after the death of a young skater, however the park opened in spring 2004.  A car hit Aaron Schneider as he skated on Long Road the evening of Nov. 12, 2005 then the city dedicated the park to Schneider in 2006.

 

Sycamore Park, including the skateboard facilities, closes at dusk everyday.

Although most of the Huntwork Gardens tenets are senior citizens, people of any age may move there, Davis said.

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