The gates of Cameron Park’s skate park were reopened Wednesday morning, more than two weeks after they were locked shut over concerns of vandalism and other community disturbances.
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The Cameron Park Community Services District Board of Directors, in a unanimous vote, reversed its March 16 decision after hearing local reaction during its Tuesday night meeting’s open forum.
“The people came forward. They do want it open,” said Scott McNeil, the board’s president.
Earlier in march the CSD board voted to temporarily close the skateboard park after the “Skate Park Ad Hoc Committee,” formed last August, voiced its concerns over the park’s perceived adverse effect on the community.
Disturbances said to be associated with the skatepark included drug use and possession, fights, graffiti, public intoxication and possible gang-related activity.
On Wednesday, McNeil told the Mountain Democrat that the locks were officially taken off of the park gates earlier that morning.
“It was a hasty decision (to close the park),” he said.
When news of the board’s decision first broke, the Mountain Democrat Website was inundated with replies from unhappy skaters and their parents, many of whom wondered what alternatives the local youths could turn to.
But Wednesday, McNeil acknowledged the park’s importance to Cameron Park.
“This is a small community for kids with not much to do,” he said. “I believe the right decision was made.”
Although the park has been reopened, McNeil said the CSD board is not ignoring the concerns voiced by the now-defunct “Skate Park Ad Hoc Committee.”
The CSD’s Parks and Recreation Committee, headed by McNeil himself, is charged with tackling the skate park’s problems.
The board president could offer no possible changes being considered, but said planning is in the works.
Still, McNeil said the board is still investigating the true severity of disturbances created by the park.
“I don’t know if it’s as bad as we heard because the other side wasn’t represented (during the ad hoc committee’s presentation),” he said.
McNeil and the CSD board have come under recent criticism not only for closing the park, but also for the decision to not renew the contract of general manager Fred Smith.
That outcry did not stop the board’s president from issuing a mea culpa, though.
“If we didn’t do it right, we need to step up and admit it,” said McNeil.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-344-5069.