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Friday, May 6, 2016

Skaters, city officials address need for park

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Chris Blevins, 19, grinds down a cement edge in an empty parking lot near Meridian Street Tuesday. Such an edge is like a rail to skateboarders.

A nearly year-old proposal to construct a skateboarding park in Brazil will be brought back for consideration at the next Brazil City Park Board meeting April 13.

Sarah Hoke is one of the leading advocates for the park and mother of a 15-year-old skater, Jesse. Hoke along with some other parents presented their ideas to the board last May, but when it met with some dissension, the parents "kinda let it ride out."

Hoke sounded eager about the next Park Board meeting.

"Hopefully with everything warming up, we'll be getting plenty of donations," Hoke said.

Brazil Human Resource Safety Director Debbie Hobson is working with parents like Hoke to get the project moving.

"The only problem that I have is that we're going to have to work on nothing but donations," Hobson said.

Some businesses have offered items such as rails and parents who lack financial means have pledged whatever else they can offer to Hobson.

Regardless, Hobson said, "I do see that they need one. It will keep them away from businesses. They won't be destroying Forest Park."

She told Mayor Tom Arthur about the idea and he told her to look into it. He had her visit skateparks in Ellettsville and Greencastle.

Jesse Hoke said a park is necessary.

"All we're trying to do is have some fun," Jesse said.

Having a designated place to skate in Brazil would give skateboarders something to do in a town where there is nothing to do, he said.

It would also keep the skaters out of trouble and away from the $55 fines the city can cite for skating where it is not allowed, he said.

Dean Casey, 14, another skateboarder, said his friends would like to be "able to go somewhere and skate and not (get) kicked out."

Daniel Steuerwald, 15, doesn't normally wear a helmet while he's practicing his new tricks, but he said he'd be willing to wear one if the park required it.

"We get chased everywhere we go," Steuerwald said. "We're running out of places to skate."

Hobson said an asphalt area exists in Craig Park where she would like to have the skating area. Concrete would have to be laid.

She said when she presents her plan, she expects a warm reception from the board.

"I can see them in favor of it," Hobson said. "I do not see it as a problem at all."

Steuerwald said the desire for a skate park doesn't just exist between him and his friends. He said he skated with 20 other people Monday and he sees at least 10 other people skating daily in Brazil.

Sarah Hoke cited safety and accountability as strong reasons for the park. The sheriff and parents of skateboarders would know where they are, she said.

Hobson said if the park is built, a sign "will be posted that we are not responsible for accidents."

She encourages all parents involved in this issue to attend the April 13 board meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall. Hobson said she can be contacted at 443-2221 if anyone is interested in donating to the skateboarders.

Hoke said, "I just hope this all turns out for the kids."

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