PLAISTOW — The town is eyeing a new place for skaters to practice their sport after a new skate park closed after only a few months amid concerns over noise and other behavior.
The park opened last August after voters OK'd spending $15,000 to build it on an old tennis court at the Smith Field recreational area on Ingalls Terrace.
But the problem, police and town officials said, was its location next to a residential neighborhood. The park closed in October and didn't reopen in the spring.
“Finding a less densely settled neighborhood would be ideal. It's my hope we'll be able to find a permanent home for it and further enhance some of the skating opportunities,” Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said.
Town officials are looking at a new site in the village area across from the Town Hall that wouldn't be near houses. The relocation plan would be done at no cost or “low cost,” and involve moving the equipment from the old park to the new one, Fitzgerald said.
Deputy Police Chief Kathleen Jones said many of the problems with the skate park related to loud noise, with some complaints about vulgar language and trash.
Some also complained about criminal mischief to the property around the skate park, including skaters bending fencing and breaking swings.
Fitzgerald said the park was eventually closed at the recommendation of police and recreation officials.
While some skaters climbed under the fence to use it after it closed, Jones said that has stopped.
“We provided extra patrols, took names of any we found there for future trespass charges. After a short period of time and frequent patrols, this stopped,” she said.
Jones said skaters have no other place designated for skating and sometimes ride on streets and in parking lots, which can pose dangers for them and passing motorists.
“If they are at a certain location and someone calls to complain, we have to kick them out,” she said, adding that she feels a park is “a great thing for the kids to have as long as they respect it as a benefit or privilege and not cause any issues.”