Parks, Parents Differ On Skateboard Park

People spoke out for and against a park at a hearing by Skokie-Morton Grove School District 69 and the Skokie Park District.


With some parents opposing a skateboard park at Lincoln Junior High School and the Skokie Park District and other parents and groups supporting it, a decision on whether to build the skate park will not be made until later this month.

About 90 people came to a public hearing on the skate park Wednesday, with many stepping to the microphone to express their views. 

Michelle Tuft, superintendent of recreation and facilities for the Skokie Park District, started the session with an overview of the plans, saying there's a need for a safe place for growing numbers of skateboarders to do their thing.


"Skaters are forced to use streets and parking areas due to a lack of facilities," she said, adding that if a community doesn't have a skate park, then the whole community is a skate park. 

Patty O'Malley, a parent in Skokie-Morton Grove District 69, said she wasn't against a skate park, but felt Lincoln Junior High was the wrong place for it. She expressed legal and security concerns, according to the Skokie Review, and also said it had no benefit for the school district. 

Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie Public Library, said skateboarders often ply their craft in the library parking lot where motorists are driving, and she fears one of them will get hit, according to TribLocal. 

Skateboarders who want to skate in a skate park now have to travel to Park Ridge's Hinckley Park or one of two skateboard parks in Glenview. The Niles Park District is considering building a skate park

If approved, three governments--the park district, School District 69 and the village of Skokie--would form an intergovernmental agreement to build and run it. The village would contribute $250,000 for contruction, the park district would oversee maintenance and the school district would provide the land.

 Construction could start next spring.

patty o"malley October 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Question #21 of the Skokie Park District Survey .... Are you aware that the Skokie Park District leases 17 acres of undeveloped property east of Sports Park from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)? Yes or no? It may be interesting to hear how that question was answered by residents. It is on the survey!
Jackie October 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Is there any Return-on-Investment data regarding TIF funds? I do not see how building a skate park will provide a significant return on investment. I'd like to see some numbers to prove this point. As stated at the Public Forum, some business owners are very worried about where people will use restrooms as restrooms are not currently planned by the Park Dt. As a Dt. 69 parent, I do not see how the Skate Park benefits Dt. 69 students educationally. Our Dt. faces a severe budget crisis; we had many programs taken away recently. I do not see how a Skate Park benefits the students or residents in the area.
Cynthia Schafer October 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I have never heard of a park having a return on investment. If that is the standard, then there would never be a park anywhere. Parks are for recreation and enjoyment. In this case, the enjoyment of children, who unfortunately never get a vote. Better that they are using a Skate park then getting into mischief.
Katie Gudgel October 12, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I agree with Cynthia that not all decisions should be based on return on investment. HOWEVER, this is to be funded with TIF money which does have restrictions on spending. I have to go back and look at the requirements and goals, but I believe that one of them is an increase in property values. So, that is a return on investment calculation - how much money will property values increase by spending this TIF money?
patty o"malley October 12, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Lets get something clear here. If Cynthia can hear the skateboarders at Old Orchard Jr. High's track at night, the 560 students at Lincoln Junior High can hear them all day. This is not about a park it is about the location of the park on school grounds. Maybe Old Orchard Jr. High could have a skate park? The only return on investment here should be the educational experience of the students at District 69 Schools. Remember the old saying "Strong Schools, Strong Community." Good schools make property values go up, not cool parks. Take a look at exactly where this proposed park will be and then decide if the kids should have a vote! I sure wish I had a vote!


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