Press-Republican

March 20, 2013

North Elba's skateboard gear goes to Wilmington

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — LAKE PLACID — Unused skateboard-park equipment here will move to a new home shortly.

But the state-of-the-art metal ramps and rails aren’t going to Saranac Lake, as previously planned.

Town and village officials in North Elba, Saranac Lake and Wilmington opted to relocate the steel skateboard-park features to Wilmington after that town’s gear was ruined by wind this winter.

“We had a wind storm at the end of January, and it destroyed about 50 percent of the skate-park stuff,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said.

The town asked if the still unused gear owned by North Elba could be moved to Wilmington.

After discussing the situation with Saranac Lake officials, the North Elba Town Council voted unanimously to give the equipment to Wilmington.

“We’re just excited that kids are going to use the equipment,” North Elba Councilman Bob Miller said. “Wilmington has a perfect spot.”

WOULDN’T FIT

The Saranac Lake Village Board and SkatePark Committee have been working to find a place to install the equipment.

A plan to put it behind the Saranac Lake Police Station stalled, but now they have their eye on part of a parking lot behind JCPenney, between Broadway and Church Street. 

But the big steel boxes and ramps from North Elba wouldn’t fit there.

“The equipment offered from North Elba appears not to be able to work within the space for the proposed skateboard park,” Village Manager John Sweeney said.

Saranac Lake officials are moving forward with a design for ramps and features made of concrete.

WHEN ICE MELTS

The equipment is ideal for the solid blacktop pad in Wilmington, though.

“Our guys went up ... and measured all the equipment and measured the layout to make sure it will fit in our skate park area. It will fit perfectly,” Preston said. 

They are simply waiting for the ice to melt to move the equipment.

“We’ve lined up a couple trailers to haul the stuff with, and, as soon as the weather breaks and we can get the equipment out of the ice, we’re moving it here.”

Wilmington crews removed the wind-damaged skate-park features last week.

“We do have three or four ramps that are still in fairly good shape, and a couple of towns have shown interest; the towns of Jay and Elizabethtown are considering taking them,” Preston said.

SHARED SPACES

North Elba’s unused skate park sits behind the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid; the equipment was purchased in 2006 with a $100,000 state grant, and the park opened in 2007.

But the fenced-in area proved too challenging for sustained use because it’s on Lake Placid School District property, requiring constant supervision to remain open.

The school, North Elba and the Youth Center agreed to give the equipment away last year.

Sweeney said Saranac Lake was grateful for North Elba’s offer.  

“Wilmington lost their equipment and, recognizing that need, we all agreed to move in that direction,” he said.

And the kids do go to other towns to use skateboard equipment. Public park areas are shared spaces among towns.

“It’s great for all parties,” Sweeney said. “There’s no ‘ownership’ to material when the kids come into play.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam:   kdedam@pressrepublican.com