Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Youth skateboarders ask the town for a park

by Danielle Ameden, Daily News Staff
March 19, 2015

A group of young skateboarders asked the Board of Selectmen Tuesday for help building a skate park so they don’t have to ride in the street.

The kids joined Precinct 15 Town Meeting member Judy Grove in asking selectmen to sponsor an article at annual Town Meeting this spring. Grove said the group is seeking $175,000 from the town — half the project cost — and the youngsters will go after grants and raise money to pay for the other half.

Young skateboarders from in and around Framingham, along with 
Town Meeting member Judy Grove, in the front row on the left,
went to the Framingham Board of Selectmen Tuesday to present their
request for a skate park. Daily News photo/Danielle Ameden

After two past failed attempts to build a skate park in Framingham, Grove said she wants to see the project happen.

“The kids have been working on this for 15 years,” she told selectmen.

Since so much time has lapsed, it’s now a new group of middle and high school students driving the project, Grove said.

One of them, 16-year-old Andrée Remy, said a skate park would be good for the community and for kids who need a safe place to go to practice their tricks.

The group estimates there are about 2,500 skaters in town, and the best options now are to travel to skate parks in places such as Hudson or Waltham, or stay in the streets here.

“We’re skating in the streets, traffic is all around us,” Remy, a sophomore at Framingham High School, told selectmen. “We’re trying to avoid getting hit by cars.”

She presented statistics on the relatively few injuries sustained by skateboarders compared to traditional sports, and said skateboarding promotes a healthy lifestyle and boosts confidence and self esteem.
“One thing that’s really awesome about skateboarding is it teaches you perseverance,” Remy said. “Just because you fall one time doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.”

Selectmen chuckled when Connor Stone, a 15-year-old freshman at Keefe Tech, said he wants a place to skate and make memories because his high school years will go by fast.

“I don’t know, it feels like the fun kind of ends there,” he said to laughs.

On a serious note, Stone told the board, “We really need this.”

Remy said the abandoned tennis courts behind Barbieri Elementary School, by Cushing Memorial Park, would be a great place for a professionally designed concrete skate park.

The site has to offer parking yet be away from vehicular traffic and close to public transportation, she said.

Grove said the first step is securing the right piece of land.

“As Tony Hawke would say, ‘Let’s give them a place to ride,’” she told the board.