Local News

December 3, 2013

Dalton looks at expanding skate park

Victor Cervantes, then barely 15, stood before the Dalton City Council three years ago and made the case for a public skate park. He proved so persuasive that the city had one up and running less than a year later.

Now, Cervantes hopes he and his fellow skaterboarders can convince the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission to expand the 5,000-square-foot skate park, which is at James Brown Park on Civic Drive.

“I knew that a lot of people would use it. But I didn’t expect so many people would use it so soon,” Cervantes said Tuesday night.

About two dozen skateboarders gathered at the John Davis Recreation Center to discuss the park, and there was a strong consensus that it is too small and often too crowded.

“It can be dangerous at times, especially for the smaller (skateboarders),” David Parker said.

Recreation Department Director Steve Card said he can empathize.

“It’s right outside my office,” Card said. “There always seems to be someone out there, and sometimes I can look out there and there’s 40 or more people out there trying to skate.”

Kate McAtee organized the meeting. Her 3-year-old son Jonah began skating this spring.

“He really loves it, and everyone at the park has always been so helpful and so kind. They really look out for him,” she said. “But it is often crowded and there are lines, and that can be difficult for a small child. I try to come in the mornings when the older guys are not there, not because of them. Like I said, they’ve been great. I do it for them. I don’t want to hinder their experience.”

Card said if the park is expanded one thing they may consider is creating an area for small children and younger children learning to skate.

Card said it might be easier to sell officials on the idea of expanding the park if older members of the skateboarding community would agree to help mentor younger skateboarders.

“If we could  announce that, I don’t know, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. every other Saturday there will he someone there who will help new skaters learn not only the techniques of skating but also all of the unwritten rules and etiquette you guys expect it would show the rec commission and the City Council there’s some buy-in from the skating community,” he said.

Cervantes said that shouldn’t be a problem since skateboarders do that informally now.

Card said that cost would be an issue in any expansion. The park cost about $100,000 when it was built three years ago. He also warned that the process may not be as quick as it was when the park was built.

“Government moves slowly, but I don’t want that to discourage you,” he said.

Card said that he would meet with the rec commission and talk to City Council members next week and would get back to those who attended Tuesday’s meeting by email.

“We’ll have another meeting like this after the first of the year and talk about what they tell me and what direction they want to go,” he said.

Reached after the meeting, City Council member Gary Crews said the council is always willing to listen to citizens.

“One of the first council meetings I attended was when the young man made the case for the skate park. The council obviously took his concerns and arguments seriously,” he said. “But we’ll need to see what the rec commission recommends and what out budget looks like, what sort of funding we have, before we make any decisions.”

Card said if officials make a decision to expand the park skateboarders will be consulted on its design, just as they had input on the design of the current park three years ago.

He said the amount of use the skate park gets would make it easier for him to argue for its expansion as would the lack of major problems there.

“We haven’t had one complaint from neighbors. I’ve had some people ask me about the park, and I tell them that there are people living just 30 or 40 feet away from it, and they have never complained about any issue with the skaters,” he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014