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Plans in the works for a skate park in Brazil

Friday, April 11, 2008

The youth of Clay County are one step closer to having a venue to express their extreme sport talents, but additional involvement is needed to push a skate park project forward.

Roberta Weliever, a retired North Clay Middle School teacher, has been working with former students, foundations and local officials to build a skate park for Clay County.

Many skateboarders have found that businesses do not want them practicing on their property, due to liability and wear-and-tear issues.

Several attempts for skating venues have been thwarted by lack of funding or space.

Weliever has found both.

In an agreement with the Brazil City Mayor's office, Brazil City Parks Board and Clay Community Parks Board, the proposed skatepark will be built in Craig Park, on the west side of Brazil.

Also, the Clay Community Parks Association will be writing grants to upgrade lighting at Craig Park.

Other forms of funding have been found through local business donations and foundations supporting skateparks.

To receive most of the foundation dollars, though, there needs to be community involvement and a plan.

That is why Weliever is inviting students from all Clay County schools to participate in a design session on Tuesday, April 15, at 6:30, in the upstairs of the Brazil United Methodist Church.

The youth who attend have the opportunity to describe what they want in a skatepark. The meeting also offers Weliever the ability to ask adults to join an advisory board for the park.

"The more commitment we show, the bigger the grants will be," she said.

Weliever has also received support for the park in the form of volunteers to build the park.

"I had one gentleman call me and ask me what he can do. He's a retired construction worker," Weliever said.

The park will be under the Clay Community Park Association umbrella, and has been given 501C-3 non-profit status.

In terms of liability, Indiana has an "extreme sports" law, which excuses skate parks from injury liability if they have the proper signage.

Besides the ideas from skaters, the project will need in-kind donations such as rebar, steel, plastic tubing and lumber. Weliever hopes to have a dedication area, where patrons can purchase a square yard of concrete and have a plaque in their name at the park.

She also said she hopes to be able to build benches alongside the skatepark, because watching the participants use parks is "just fascinating."

In all, Weliever said she needs around $250,000 to complete the park.

But the fundraising cannot begin until the youth of Clay County make decisions on what the park will look like.

Weliever can be contacted for questions at 443-0611.

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The youth definitely need a skate park, and I'm glad to see that one may finally be constructed.

However, the skateboarders could do better if they would show some respect. The Forest Park Cow Palace is constantly vandalized and equipment destroyed to make ramps and rails. "No Skateboarding" signs are removed from their posts at local businesses. Concrete curbs and steps are chipped and destroyed. And fast food restaurant trash is left behind when the 'boarders leave. Not all skateboarders are doing this, but the ones that are ruin it for everyone.

My biggest concern about the proposed skate park is the location. It's isolated way on the west side of town. I've heard about the things that go on out there, and if you don't know about them, you might be shocked to find out. Encouraging our kids to go out there doesn't seem like the brightest idea.

However, I do want our kids to have a place to skate, and if this is our only option, then let's do it.

-- Posted by Civisi on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 7:30 AM

I think that building a skate park in Craig Park seems like a very good option for the skaters to enjoy. On top of that, I believe that if they had a place of their own for skateboarding rather than using the town's sidewalks or parking lots, there would be less vandalism around the area. Or the vandalism would be confined to the new skate park...and I think some of the spray painting can be construed as artwork. Some of the vandals are quite talented.

Go Roberta!!!

-- Posted by andypflueger on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 9:34 AM

Come and talk to the Greencastle park board officals before you start. Be careful what you wish for.

-- Posted by Blue6 on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 10:41 AM

Skaterpunks get a bad rap. They are really good kids who just want to enjoy their hobby. Most of them don't damage property, but there are a few (just like with anything else) that seem to give all of them a bad name. Don't judge them because they carry a board, judge them for what they say. If asked to leave they will politely do so. But if confronted with aggression, they will respond accordingly. Be adult and show repect to all.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 11:51 AM

I hope there is a way to secure the facility when it's closed. I read on the Greencastle paper website about how kids from Terre Haute came over and tore theirs up. How stupid.

-- Posted by Bruther on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 2:28 PM

@Conservative Dad:

What you say is true, but each occasion that I have dealt with them, they do not show respect and ignore me. My wife's boss has posted signs in his parking lot and told the same group of skaters numerous times to not skate on his property, and they keep coming back, damaging his property and his "No Skateboarding" signs. By the time the police get there, they are gone. Sure, a majority of the skaters might be good kids, but you know what happens when you get one bad apple.


Can you provide a summary of what you would like for us to know?

-- Posted by Civisi on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 2:44 PM

While it's nice that Mrs Weleiver is helping the skaters, where are the parents? It is the same few Middle School boys I see daily in the Kroger parking lot or jumping into the road at the Post office! They do not show respect to anyone on the road or parking. It's hard to beleive the parents do not know where their children are, knowing who they are.

-- Posted by northview_mom on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 3:24 PM

I started my skateboarding career in Brazil in the Northview parking lot in 1997. Many of the skateboarders I know from my high school days are still skating, just not in Brazil. Most of us have moved away but I am always interested in how the new Brazil will treat skateboarders there. I have heard skatepark rumors several times since 1997 and every time it comes up, many Brazil residents often are stating their complaints about skateboarders in a very general sense. I don't believe you can complain about skateboarders as a whole any more than you can complain about other athletes as a whole. If a Northview football player showed you disrespect in a Kroger parking lot (and I am sure you could get that to happen), do you say to yourself, "Gee, those football players don't need a place to play, they're too disrespectful!" The fact is, kids will be kids. Some of them grow up with a good belief system and some of them just don't care. Deal with each encounter as an individual case.

Brazil has produced some amazing skateboard talent in the past who are still going strong right now, and they all started out as a "punk kid" skating around Brazil. I have always found that it is not the skateboarders you need to worry about, it's the people I knew in Brazil who didn't have a hobby. They were the ones I would worry about.

A side note: If you build a skatepark on the outskirts of Brazil, you come into a problem. 10-15 year old kids who don't have licenses will probably skate all the way to the skatepark. Just a thought for those who don't want them in the streets in the first place.

-- Posted by benjilewis on Sun, Apr 13, 2008, at 8:35 AM

YAY!! i am all fot it, thses kids need it

-- Posted by c1iwant on Mon, Apr 14, 2008, at 5:52 PM

Benji- If a Northview football player was throwing a football and running around through the cars at Krogers would have a problem with that but I haven't witnessed that. I've seen these kids jumping with their skateboards from the sidewalk into US40 and video taping it! By the time the police get there they are gone. That is dangerous and disrespectful to the innocent driver who they jump out in front of.

-- Posted by northview_mom on Mon, Apr 14, 2008, at 8:00 PM

northview_mom: I don't disagree totally with what you're saying. I guess I was trying to point out that a lot of people in Brazil state their opinions about skateboarders because they are visible. I am saying there are a lot bigger problems in that town and I was pointing out the fact that I knew many high-school students without hobbies, who were doing a lot worse than jumping around on skateboards. The points you have raised seem to me to be more reason for a skate park to be built in Brazil. I would love to come home to visit my parents and find that I did not have to go to the street spots and worry about getting kicked out when I'm on vacation. On a previous note: My belief as to why parents do not always act on their child's passion and try to promote the skatepark: Children change constantly. Their hobbies and passions change. An individual child may only try out skateboarding for a year or two and decide it is not for them. However, along comes a teacher who sees several students have the same passion and she does something about it. As to why parents do not do something about the misbehavior of their children: 1) Everyone was a kid once. 2) We all have done something our parents knew nothing about. Parents do not follow their kids out into the neighborhood if they are on a bike, so why would they if they are on a skateboard? I guess I am trying to answer questions or comments that are almost unanswerable but the fact is this: Skateboarding has been around for awhile and it has always brought up the same emotions in skateboarders and the people who try to shut skateboarding down. I could not count how many times my friends and I were kicked out of parking lots in Brazil. When everyone I know moved away from Brazil I thought for sure Brazil's skateboarding problems would be over because I did not think there was anyone else, but like I said, there are always new generations popping up. The question I ask is, what positive steps will be taken? When I lived in Brazil the Park Board shut down the idea and we went back to skating the streets. What will you do?

-- Posted by benjilewis on Wed, Apr 16, 2008, at 4:41 PM

Danville resalling skate park?

-- Posted by donalde on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 7:35 PM

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