Skateboard park moves closer to reality

LAKE GEORGE - A public meeting will be held at the Lake George Central High School Monday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. to discuss the community's plans to build a skateboard park.

Plans to construct the park in Lake George Village began over a year ago, initiated by several young people in the community and their parents. The Lake George Village Board included funding in their 2009-2010 budget and several fundraisers were held to raise money for the project.

Village officials have been working with four interested companies to construct a park and find a suitable location. Representatives of the American Ramp Company, builders of skateboard parks, are expected to attend the meeting and meet with the interested youths to assist in designing the park, Village Mayor Robert Blais said this week. For details, contact Village Hall at 668-5771.

Presently there are approximately seven to ten million skateboarders in the U.S., increasing at a rate of 8 to 10 percent annually, Blais said. There are over 300 skate parks operated by municipalities nationwide.

Lake George Town officials have indicated their willingness to transfer a parcel of land to the village to construct a park adjacent to the Village Hall, relieving the town of responsibility for accidents and claims, Blais said.

An insurance underwriter's survey has revealed that skateboard injuries occur far less than other sports - two to five times less often - and are rarely serious or litigious, Blais said. A survey taken in California and Washington, two states with ,many municipal parks, have reported only two claims in 20 years of operation, he said.

Properly designed and maintained, a skateboard park expands considerably the recreational opportunities for young adults, he said. Many parks have on-site supervision but many are self-policed by the users themselves, Blais said.

"We see more and more skateboarders in our village all the time," Blais said. "They use our parks, streets, benches, anywhere they can to skate. No different than any other sport, they deserve a safe, organized place to perform their sport and our planned park will be a good beginning for those who skateboard."

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