Citing liability concerns, Morristown shuts down popular skate park

Local News

One of the most popular places in Morristown for teenagers to gather has just closed.

The town Selectboard voted to shut down the local skate park Monday, arguing that it’s become a liability issue.

Brendan Smith was riding his bike at the skate park when he says he “started to just hit this nice little halfpipe they’ve got going here, and within two, three minutes, I ran over a nail.”

Selectboard chair Bob Beeman says Smith’s experience illustrates why the park had to close.

“It had come to our attention over the past year or so the park has gotten into a state of disrepair,” Beeman said. “We realized how bad it was, and so we made the hard decision of closing it.”

Beeman said the park was built 8 years ago as a temporary facility.

“The idea was to see how long it lasted and maybe put an effort together to put something more permanent together,” he said.

Beeman says the park would likely cost $300,000 to replace. But, for some parents, a replacement can’t come quickly enough.

“Without this, I don’t know what our teenagers are going to do,” Debbie Elkhoury said. “There’s a hangout place, it’s monitored by the police, and we know where our kids are and it’s safe. It would be sad to see something like this go and not be replaced in a timely fashion.”

“If there’s a way they could raise the money, that would be nice,” Mark Elliot said. “There’s a lot of kids that come down here. I’ve been down to pick (my son) up with his grandfather, and the place is packed.”

The Morristown Parks and Recreation Committee and the Selectboard have scheduled meeting in May to plot the next steps.

The Parks and Rec Committee meeting is on Wednesday, May 1, at 8:15 a.m. The Selectboard will hold a public hearing during its scheduled meeting on Monday, May 20, at 6:00 p.m.

Both meetings are taking place inside the municipal office building on Portland Street.

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