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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Issues with skatepark slowing progress

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The equipment purchased for the Clay Community Skatepark remains in Danville as insurance and placement issues are being worked out between the Brazil City Parks Board and the Clay Community Skatepark Committee. [Order this photo]
Progress on installing the proposed Clay Community Skatepark is nearing a standstill.

In a special meeting Monday, the Brazil City Parks Board discussed potential liability issues and placement of the skatepark.

Forrest Sherer Insurance Personal Lines Vice President Chris Reynolds said there is a veil of immunity in which liability for incidents involving the equipment would not be on the city's shoulders.

"The equipment must be professionally and architecturally designed and installed," Reynolds said. "There must also be certificates of insurance provided by the installing companies along with plenty of safety signs with specific rules."

He added there are other terms by which the city would have to follow to remain under the veil of immunity, but the city would still have to provide maintenance and document safety checks of the skatepark.

"With extreme sports, the chances of injuries occurring are almost inevitable," Reynolds said. "It is recommended that the skatepark be checked at least once a day and there is nothing in the immediate vicinity that could be moved into the skate area to be used as a prop."

Clay Community Skatepark Committee representative Roberta Weliever informed the board the equipment, which was recently purchased from the Danville area for $36,000, was professionally constructed with precast concrete, and has been reviewed by a construction company.

However, Weliever said the 100-by-120-foot pad for the ramps and equipment to sit on still needs to be constructed. She also said an upside to the new equipment is it is still under warranty.

Reynolds suggested the best way to determine the potential costs of installing the skatepark would be to hire a general contractor who could look at the proposed areas and set specifications for the solicitation of bids for the work.

"Insurance companies do like to see professional work done, along with the certificates of insurance," he said. "On the flip side, the city would be responsible for any work done themselves or by volunteers."

The discussion then turned to the issue of where the skatepark would be installed.

Weliever is hoping the skatepark will be put in the northeast corner of Craig Park to allow more visibility from the public, while the Parks Board is suggesting the northwest corner, where the ground is already leveled.

Members of the board also expressed concern about placing the park in the northeast corner because it would create the problem of having to reconstruct a portion of the cross-country track used by Northview High School and North Clay Middle School.

"I am not in favor of doing anything to damage the cross-country area," Board Secretary Caroline McCullough said. "There has been too much work put into it."

Weliever rebutted stating having the skatepark in clearer view would be better a better option for a variety of reasons.

"With everything we've done and all the hard work put into this, there's always something else to it," she said. "I'm just fighting to put it in a well-trafficked area."

One of the points Weliever brought up was the amount of vandalism could be reduced by having the skatepark in plain view.

However, Board Vice-President Todd Brackman said the issues will be there regardless of where the skatepark is located.

"No matter where you put it, people are going to get hurt, get into fights and graffiti the park," Brackman said. "I'm not saying skateparks cause these things to happen, but they draw everyone, not just skaters."

Board President RuthAnn Jeffries said she would contact Northview Athletic Director Charlie Jackson and other necessary individuals to inquire about the possibility of changing the cross-country area.

"I want to know how much work it would take if it had to be reconfigured," Jeffries said. "We need to see what would be involved and if it could be ready in time for the fall season."

Although disputed by Weliever, board member Bill Houck said he believed the skatepark would not have a significant impact on the number of individuals skating through Brazil.

Also, the presence of new information has deterred one board member from being in favor of having the skatepark in one of the city parks.

"When I initially agreed to this, I did so without all the information I have now," Board Treasurer Linda Messmer said. "We simply do not have the funds available and cannot afford to maintain a new thing, period."

Messmer added while the concrete ramps and equipment may hold up in the short term and be at a minimal maintenance cost for the city, issues would be certain to come up in the future.

"It's only a matter of time before something comes up and it could damage the ability to what we currently have and what we want to put into Craig Park," she said. "With that, I am not for having this being in any of the Brazil parks."

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Why isnt the cross country track at Northview?

Linda as a board member you should get more info before agreeing to something! There is nothing in this town for kids. People have but a lot into getting this, Dont back out as a park board now.

-- Posted by kd323 on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 9:32 PM

Isn't it interesting how enthusiastic the management of the city of Terre Haute was to support the building of a tremendous skatepark that was centrally located, and how negative our city park board members seem to be about our skateboarding youth and the opportunity to provide a relatively low cost facility for our city? The park board members give the impression that they would be much happier if this project would just go away. Many other cities in Indiana have excellent skateparks and many of their youth use them for recreation. Why can't we work together to complete this project in a location that can be accessed easily by the entire population?

-- Posted by Looking Glass on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 9:35 PM

One additional note for those who might be interested in seeing the various successful skateparks in our state, and others:

check out www.concretedisciples.com, and www.skatersforpublicskateparks.org. Lots of interesting information.

-- Posted by Looking Glass on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 9:59 PM

Oh, but there is a lot for kids in Brazil kd323. It's called drugs!!

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 10:22 PM

YMCA would make a better place for the skate park

-- Posted by donalde on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 4:01 AM

This is ridiculous. This skate park needs to be put in one of the parks. If the equipment is purchased let's use it and help attract people. Greencastle has a very nice skate park. Several other cities have nice skate parks. Brazil has several parks that could be the home of this skate park. Why do we need to ask Charlie Jackson about a City of Brazil park? Who cares what he wants or doesn't want. Who cares about whether he approves a change in the park or not. This park is not his. This park is the citizens of Brazil. Skating has certainly increased. Yes, this would prevent skaters from using downtown areas to skate on. Right now they get ran off everywhere they go. It seems as though Mrs. Weliever has came up with funding and will continue to come up with funding opportunities for the park. She is very well educated individual and I'm glad she's putting a 100% effort in this project.


Eric Vanatti

-- Posted by Criminology08 on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 5:00 AM

I agree we need to continue with this park. The kids need some place that is designed for skate boarding. Right now they are using business parking lots and sidewalks in front of businesses. This is dangerous to them as well as to the customers that are entering and leaving the businesses. I don't know how many times I have seen kids at the post office going down the exit side onto Depot into oncoming traffic. How much more dangerous is that to our kids. Lets just finish what we started since an enormous amount of money has been spent on equipment. It would be a shame to waste that money seeing that the towns budget is so tight,

-- Posted by klk_klo on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 5:54 AM

This all comes back to money and the willingness of the taxpayers to pay for the things they want and need in this community.

The insurance issue I'll bet is why this used equipment was made available as previous community that had it found the insurance too high for the local government to support.

On one hand it would provide a place for kids to practice their hobby, but without adult supervision it would just change the location of a potential hangout location. While I do not doubt that most of the skateboarders are just normal kids wanting a place to use boards, just having them congregate will also attract others and without the supervision of adults, other activities could occur. Do we have money available for surveillance and upkeep of more while the community can't get enough from taxes to pay for streets and waterlines? And who's going to be the one to intervene when some little kids are sliding down the ramps on their rear ends and older kids think they are in the way of their skating? Who is going to make sure kids have helmets on? Is there going to be sign of disclaimer posted? Is there a law in Indiana protecting communities as there is for stable owners when liability disclaimer is posted for horseback riding at their facility? All this has to be investigated before the community can think about taking on this expense and liability.

If skateboard supporters can get petition signed on which taxpayers agree to have their taxes raised in order to pay for this additional obligation, I'm sure the local government would support it...but we can't even get taxpayers to support a county wide library so they shouldn't hold their breath. Why should we anticipate that taxpayers would agree to pay for kids practicing their hobby when they won't even support a library which is known to improve community literacy?

I feel empathy for the skateboarders and the group that has brought the project this far but also feel that the board is being prudent with their decision to not commit until they know how they are going to pay for it. Maybe a private fund for maintenance needs to be set up to be invested to take care of upkeep in perpetuity is the only way this project will come to fruition in this economic climate.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 7:42 AM

I'm going to attempt to be careful in my comments, because I want to state right up front that it is my opinion that our current park board is as good of a group as we have ever had, along with the Supt. Bill Houck. I also want to thank and admire the time, hard work, and dedication that Mrs. Weliever has put into this project.

Unfortunately I wasn't at the meeting to hear and see things for myself, so I have to rely on what the paper reports and what other people say.

That being said...this project has not proceeded in a logical fashion, and from reading between the lines, it faces an uphill battle that looks pretty steep at this point.

1. The purchase of the equipment should not have been allowed to take place until there was solid support after diligent review. The testimony the board got at this meeting, is all things that should have been heard before any initial approval was given. Now that they've heard it, well at least one board member (Mrs. Messmer), has doubts. Do the others as well? If so, then this is going to be a hard and expensive lesson.

2. Reconfiguring the cross-country course could be done if need be I'm sure. They may not want to do it, but as has already been mentioned, this is city park property, not the high school's. Now I will grant that volunteers of the high school's cross-country program are the only reason why that course even exist and that deserves respect, but the part they would have to reconfigure is the part that would be the easiest to do so. I really don't even see why this would be a hinderance.

I don't have any skateboarders in my family, but I do see a benefit to having an place for those young people to go. The city should protect themselves as much as possible from potential liability, but in the end, I'd like to see this project happen.

It is not even debateable that Craig Park is an under-utilized park. This piece of property has so much potential, and yet year after year, nothing!

Again, Mrs. Weliever should be thanked for her steadfast commitment to this project. This commitment should not go down because of hurdles that can be overcome.

Once again, Brazil is given an opportunity to have something that many other like communities have, let's see if it happens. History and the current trend appears to be yet another obstacle to overcome.

And one other thing...

I know we're supposed to stay "on-topic", but this concerns a park, Forest Park, and I don't know where else to mention it.

Why is gravel being placed in areas where there should be grass? I think that takes away from the natural beauty of the park and I don't understand the need. Don't misunderstand, they aren't putting gravel over large parts, but even though it is limited, what is being done is unnecessary.

If the grass gets worn out from heavy foot and vehicle traffic, such as during the 4th of July Celebration and the Popcorn Festival, the grass should be replanted. In my opinion this should absolutely be covered in the contract with those sponsoring organizations. Why shouldn't they be responsible?

But still, why the gravel? Yes this area of the park is soft when wet, but the answer is to tile this area, something that should have been done years ago considering the type of use and abuse this area gets year after year.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 7:46 AM

I am all for the skate park even though my kids are not old enough to skate. As far as the comment that was made about the ymca having the skate park i think that is dumb. Most lower income and even mmiddle income people in this area cannot afford to go there. Last time i checked it was $50 for a mom member child to play a sport there so imagine what the cost would be to skate there. Some cannot afford the extra's with the economy so put the skate park where it can be utillized for free in one of our parks. I am sure they can do a fundraiser every year to help cover cost. Kids are more likely toget into trouble with nothing to do. Most programs cost so I think this would be great for kids.

-- Posted by mom of3 on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 7:59 AM

I really think that the area South of Forest Park, where the track is would be an ideal spot for the skatepark. This would allow skaters an area with access to restrooms, pool close by in the summer and for everyone concerned about there not being enough survellience....well this would put the skaters in a central location that even golfers could peek over and notice any problems. Plus, it would be a more central location for the police to patrol. Skateparks are a wonderful thing that benefit many kids and your town has been given a wonderful gift with the equipment that has already been purchased. I do believe you'll find that a lot of kids/young adults from other areas will come to Brazil to skate and while some of you may only be considering the bad possibilities this might bring, think of the revenue from extra people eating, getting gas, etc. in brazil....if you build it...they will come :)

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 10:15 AM

There are many skateboarding sites to go to if you are interested in learning more about skateparks:






www.concretedisciples.com; www.skateboardparks.com.

-- Posted by Clay County Skatepark Advocate on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM

I think that if we can constitute hiking the water rates by double even triple for a water tower or whatever we are paying for. (Of course the mayor may be thinking of hiring someone else thats family and needs the extra money for their salary!) Then you would think we could find some money somewhere to pay for something like this.

-- Posted by nikki_mathews on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 12:09 PM

The Parks board should continue to pursue this project. Their leadership will pay off. This is an investment in the youth of the community that is well worth the effort. Thanks to the Park board, mayor, council members and Mr. Houck!!

-- Posted by scwh1974 on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 12:51 PM

Gingersnap may be on to something with her idea for the location of the skatepark. Forest Park has a security officer that patrols the park already and can keep an eye out for vandalism, etc. I implore the City to not give up on this idea. These kids need somewhere outside to skate. I personally have taken my child to the skate park in Greencastle and was pleasantly surprised by the kids and young adults that were there. They took turns with the equipment and the older kids were all about showing the younger kids new tricks. I think this skate park would be a blessing to Brazil. Cut through the red tape stuff and give these kids something to do!

-- Posted by ugotitdude on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 1:05 PM

Lets face it folks with all these old fogeys we have running our local government and saying no to this or that especially when donations are given to offset the cost of the skate park along with the believe all our kids are bad no wonder we are a regressive county and town. i think its time to boot these people off the boards and put someone on there that has a can do attitude than a cannot attitude and get our town and county moving forward again

-- Posted by brazil citizen on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 3:06 PM

This isn't about money or kids and vandalism. It about parenting. If parents take responsibility for their child's actions then we would have a much better opportunity for advancement in these activities. Some parents now want a place to "send" the kids to get some time to themselves. I have several children, and they are not the best behaved kids at times by far, but I know what they are doing and where they are at all times and if they misbehave I will make sure they pay the price for those actions.

I fully believe that this would be a good thing for the community if it is done correctly. Other communities have done these things with good results but it takes effort on the part of the parents, not just the community leaders.


(This is just my opinion, and should not be construed as the thoughts or opinions of anyone I am associated with or work for!)

Thanks have a blessed day!!

-- Posted by RickS on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 4:40 PM

RickS you said it all!

-- Posted by donalde on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 7:07 PM

I agree with Gingersnap. The ideal place for the park, would be in the center of the track at Forest Park. Police patrol those areas...I live across the street from Craig Park..it isn't an area to be trusted out by itself. It has been an area of cheating spouses, stolen cars, drugs, and grafitti.

-- Posted by ADJ on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 7:11 PM

I would agree with ADJ, because when I was younger growing up in Brazil...everyone knew that Craig Park was the place to go and not get caught and my son, who is now almost 20, has confirmed that the same attitude is going on with Craig park...just something to think about :)

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Fri, Apr 17, 2009, at 12:26 AM

I agree with RickS 100%. I urge the current park board to get on track with this project.

-- Posted by Criminology08 on Fri, Apr 17, 2009, at 2:29 AM

Why dont they get this done already. The only things for kids in brazil over 10 to do is go to the bowling alley, congregate at the kroger parking lot, and do drugs. Skateboarding is what keeps us skateboarders out of trouble. For my friends and i, skateboarding is all we really ever do. We need this park bad. The only place in town were we are alowed to skateboard is at this one church on walnut st. Me and my friends have been skating in empty parking lots and would be harrassed by people driving by. This is rediculus. Ive been cursed at and even chased. We arent hurting anything, so why is it such a big deal?

-- Posted by minirampchamp on Sat, May 2, 2009, at 2:59 PM

ok listen i started a fund in 8th grade at north clay middle school for this park to be built we raised over 400$ the school was supposed to send the mayor a check when we had made the money. they bought athletic equipment with it.... sad aint it. im 20 now and still no park. why is it we dont have anything to do in this town except hangout in krogers parking lot with no loitering signs all around. im tired of beefing with the police about skating anywhere and everywhere. PLEASE SOMEONE DO SOMETHING. my dad burned my mini ramp in a bonfire. i need to skate!!!

-- Posted by rezz1 on Wed, Jun 2, 2010, at 6:40 PM

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