The Friends of the Skate Park Board wish to respond to Sean Harrington's Jan. 24 letter, "Juneau, fix the skate park for teens."
In October, we met with Kristi West from the Zach Gordon Youth Center, and with the city's Parks and Recreation officials regarding the present state and future possibilities of the Pipeline Skate Park in the Mendenhall Valley. A lot of the concerns in Harrington's letter were brought up in that meeting, and in subsequent meetings. He stated that his main concerns were the current state of the ramps, the slippery, damp floors and a lack of follow-through on repair and upgrade projects at the park.
Since our original meeting, we've established a board to tackle these problems and more. We've looked into purchasing fans to help with the air circulation issues that are a direct cause of the wet floors. We feel that this is the best fix for the problem, in the shortest amount of time. Currently, the skate park is fenced off, and closed for repairs. We made this difficult decision in light of the fact that when the park is open and repairs are going on, it is hard for both the construction crews and local skaters to accomplish anything.
The Friends of the Skate Park Board also has been in discussion with local artists about painting large-scale murals on the back wall. When the Pipeline Skate Park first opened, graffiti was allowed and even encouraged. Unfortunately, the majority of the graffiti in recent times has become more an expression of inappropriate, vulgar hate speech, than it has an expression of creativity and art.
This is the main reason that Parks and Recreation has had a "white wall" policy in effect for some time. We agree with Harrington that it is hard to skate creatively with the current state of the park, which is why we have been meeting at least once a month to ensure that we can tackle these problems in the present, and minimize their occurrence in the future.
We appreciate Harrington's concerns, and input, and would like to extend an invitation to him, and the rest of the Juneau community to our open house 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 27.
Friends of the Skate Park Board