Rarely used, and in disrepair, city council votes to dismantle park gear

Where have all the skateboarders gone? 

The Pelican Rapids skateboard park has been mostly vacant and un-used, near the soccer fields on the west side of town. With graffiti painted on some of the fixtures, and the equipment falling into disrepair, the Pelican Rapids City Council voted to dismantle the park. City crews removed the ramps and equipment by May 30.

Evidently, they’re all grown up–because they’re not wheeling around the Pelican Rapids skateboard park any more.  

Attacked by graffiti artists, and generally falling into a state of disrepair, the skateboard park was shut down by the Pelican Rapids City Council May 28. 

By Thursday, May 30, the equipment had been removed and there was virtually no evidence of the former park remaining.

The wheels of the boards didn’t quietly come to a screeching halt, because the council discussed the park at some length. 

For Councilman Steve Strand, he remembers well the motivated  families that spearheaded the fundraiser to create the park. So, even though the skateboard ramps and fixtures are rarely used, there is some nostalgic attraction. 

“I haven’t seen anybody there for two years,” said Councilman Steve Foster.  “But I did see some kids smoking down there.” 

Police Chief Jeff  Stadum said he only sees kids with bikes on the ramps–which are officially not allowed at the skateboard park. 

Also, trends have changed.  Chief Stadum said that young people have gone to “long boards” for getting around town, rather than the shorter skateboards used on ramps for acrobatic tricks and escapades.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Brian Olson, city streets superintendent. Surfaces are peeling, and screws and bolts are becoming exposed. “It has outlived its useful life,” added Olson. 

The city parks and recreation board also recommended dismantling the skate park.  

Complicating the issue is the fact that the park is not even on city property–the parcel is Pelican school-owned, next to the soccer fields on the west side of town. 

The council discussed roping off the park, or “quarantining” as a safety hazard, until the city gets more input from the public on the future of the facility.  

“The fastest way to get kids out there is to quarantine it,” chuckled Councilman Kevin Ballard.

In the end, the council agreed to move the ramps and fixtures to an undisclosed location. The pieces are somewhat portable, so they can by lifted and transported.  

Then, if there is some public demand for skateboard facilities, the equipment could be repaired and replaced–if the council chooses.