Saturday, May 16, 2015

Parents speak about the need for a safe dedicated skatepark

Jayden of Nobscott with mother and sister
From Heather Bachman ...
     "I am so encouraged to read that the need for a skate park in Framingham is a budding conversation! I live in Nobscott, and have a 12 (well, nearly 13) year old skateboarding son. He began skating when we lived in Atlanta at 4 years old. There were many, lovely public skate parks which we used to enjoy going to on the week ends along with a picnic. It became something of a "family" outing ritual. I loved seeing older kids helping him learn to skate and the "etiquette" of skating. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet other parents, and enjoy conversation while our children of all ages, races and genders were being active!

My son, Jayden has now gotten a few of his friends here interested in skating and ironically just came to me last Friday to inform me that they want to do what's necessary to fund-raise monies to build a park here in Framingham. They had the thought of the former grocery in Nobscott plaza being transformed into an indoor park. They did have a point of utilizing "dead" space.

I would be happy to be involved in spearheading an effort to make, what sounds to be, many of our young residents dreams a reality. Anyone care to join?"

From  Katherine Lopez ...
Samuel, a young skateboarder
and student at Cameron School
"I recently became aware that there is a movement to have a Skatepark in Framingham. As a parent of an eleven year-old boarder, I was thrilled and eager to help this idea become a reality. As a skateboarder in Framingham, it is hard to practice your craft (die-hard skateboarders will say it is an art as well as an emerging sport) when there are no safe arenas to do so. For me to support my son in his endeavors, we must travel at least one-half hour to Acton, Hopkinton, Hudson, Sherborn or Waltham to find an outdoor park. This takes time and money (gasoline, food and drink for the boarder) that we would prefer to put into OUR community.

My son is not a football, soccer, basketball or baseball player. I have no doubt he could be good at any of these as he is a wonderful athlete. He chooses,

however, to engage in skateboarding (and snowboarding) as his sport. Framingham has places to play the sports listed above and more: hockey, tennis, swimming. Skateboarding is a popular activity that is every bit as athletic as other endeavors. We don't want our children on the railings of schoolyards or the streets of Framingham - it's not safe, and could damage property. Having a dedicated park would tell kids with an alternative sports interest that their physical health matters as well.

As a parent watching my son grow from a beginning boarder of three years to a more skillful one of eleven, it is has been wonderful to watch him navigate not only the physical but the social aspects of the skatepark. There is a true admiration of the younger kids for the older, and vice-versa. I've seen older kids teaching the younger ones and encouraging them with the tapping of their boards. I've seen the sharing of tricks and skills, and perseverance by all levels to achieve their goals. I've seen all ages co-exist to appreciate each other and their space. When you are in a solitary sport with no where to go, you feel alone, undervalued, and you can't learn from others. With a skatepark, kids with similar interests can support each other and grow.

When my son was very young, I wanted to avoid the older kids (who aren't there until after school or after noon on the weekends), so we went to the skatepark in the morning. There were families with little ones with scooters, tricycles, bikes and boards. It was good for the community to have a different place to bring the youngsters to try their skills. In the afternoon, it became the domain of the teenagers: BMX-ers, in-line skaters, razor scooters and boarders. Young and old, a large part of our community could be served with such a space. It could also connect parents that have children with common interests, to support their children and their growth.

Along with other parents, I hope you will consider the skatepark groups' petition to create a skatepark. It has been an underserved need in the community whose time has come"

From Jeffrey Cox ...
     "How long will we wait until we get serious about a skateboard park or some similar recreation in our town for this population? Can we have a temporary skateboard set-up established somewhere in town? Are the Parks and Recreation staff talking with the youth about their needs and working with them for a common solution to their recreation needs? We are renovating the hockey rink. We are creating passive hiking trails. We spent a lot of money relatively recently on a football stadium. We spent time to get grants for playgrounds. Yet, we have not addressed the needs of these youth over a multi-year period. We have a skateboard store on RT 9 in Natick. This is not my sport, but it is a serious sport that has significant participants.

When I initially heard about a skateboard park, I thought that this would only impact 5-10 kids and never be used. After actually seeing kids skateboarding and talking with them, I now see that there are many kids who desire such a place. If Mary Dennison Park can not host such a park in the foreseeable future, can somewhere else host it even on a temporary basis?"

From Linda Dunbrack ...
      "Kudos to the young people who organized the event If the police didn't think that the Memorial Building was an appropriate place for such a gathering, well, it is on the town that there isn't such a place. Perhaps that is the point of holding the event there.

Skating is a popular sport that is readily available to kids regardless of their economic situation. We have venues for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, etc, (all of which carry a certain amount of risk.) It seems like a reasonable investment.

I would also note that a well-designed skate park can be a beautiful addition to a community."

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