REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Here's your chance, Norwalk skaters

It's a bit harsh, closing the Norwalk skate park because it's been trashed. And trashed. And trashed. And trashed.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

It's a bit harsh, closing the Norwalk skate park because it's been trashed.

And trashed. And trashed. And trashed.

Apparently it got so bad it takes a fair portion of a shift just to pick up the litter, which by our reporter's observation was everywhere in the park except for the trash cans provided.

So the gates were closed, the locks were locked and you climb the fence and skate in the skate park at your legal peril.

All is not lost. Norwalk recreation director Joe Lindenberger, who ordered the lockdown, says he's meeting with a group of young skaters who "sounded serious" about taking care of the park.

And there's the hope. We ask Lindenberger, and the young skaters, to look north to Sandusky for one of the more enduring instances of something that went right.

A decade or so ago, skaters were a problem here: Damaging parks, ignoring the skateboarding facilities that existed. They rallied at Schade-Mylander Plaza (a guaranteed sore point, with inviting skater-friendly features and an absolute, don't-even-think-about-it ban on skating there). They complained anything the city would build would be, like, boring and stuff. The word "lame" might have been used.

But that remark, unfortunate as it was, became the catalyst. You want a skateboard park, kids? OK, you tell us what you want. You find a way to get it built. You take care of it.

And you know what? They did.

Those kids are young adults now and some still take an active interest in the park -- and it's one of the more successful community recreation stories Sandusky has.

Why? Because the people who wanted it, took ownership of the situation. They recognized a solution would take work, they did the work, and they looked back (and still look back) on the work with a pride that can't be taken away.

Government didn't do it. People did it.

Young people. With skateboards.

You want your Norwalk skate park back, kids? This is how to do it.