The Garrettsville Skate Park is no passing fancy. The skateboard course was established 12 years ago on the site of the tennis courts at Village Park across from the library, giving young skate boarders a safe place off the streets to practice their moves. Over the years, the equipment became worn out from use and weathering, so the village recently locked up the skate park for safety’s sake. Just when it seemed the park had run its course, interest in renovating the equipment has been revived, but in a new location. In order to accommodate Garfield High School’s new tennis program, the skate park has been moved to the Park Avenue park across from the YMCA, and the former tennis courts at Village Park will be restored.
According to Garrettsville Mayor Rick Patrick, “The skateboard park will be a better fit on Park Avenue, where it’s up front and visible from the street. It was too secluded at the South Street location. Neighbors should give it a chance and hopefully it will work out.”
Patrick admits there have been a few concerns raised already, with some Park Street residents worried about the amount of noise, littering, loitering and smoking that may accompany the skate park. The mayor encourages neighbors to assume the best, but call the police if there’s a problem. “If you bought a house next to the park, you need to expect some noise,” he said.
Existing equipment was moved to the Park Street location earlier this month, but a timeline on installing new equipment depends on funding. In May, Village Council member Becky Harrington reported that the total park improvements project would cost $42,946, with the village portion being approximately $10,440. The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary has offered to contribute $7,000 toward the project, which should, in effect, reduce the village’s total contribution. The project includes restoring the four tennis courts and the basketball court across from the library, and establishing the skate park on Park Avenue (costs for new equipment not included).
According to meeting minutes, village council also approved a resolution requesting additional funding through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks Grant Program. This program provides up to 75% reimbursement assistance for local government subdivisions (townships, villages, cities, counties, park districts, joint recreation districts, and conservancy districts) for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of recreational areas. Grant approvals will be made in September.
Danny Lassiter, who helped establish the original skate park in 2005, is also a driving force behind the upgraded skate park plan. He has established a GoFundMe page to generate $10,000 for rebuilding and upgrading the Garrettsville Skate Park. According to the GoFundMe page, “The original park lasted over 12 years with no maintenance and is in need of repair and upgrade. We took a poll at James A. Garfield grades 7 thru 12, over 180 kids participated with over 60% saying they used or would use the park. The park will be relocated from original site and moved to tennis court in front of YMCA. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.”
Harrington says that Lassiter, along with Greg Gotthardt, is donating all of the labor necessary to relocate and rebuild the skate park. They spent a lot of time growing up at the park and value its positive impact on their lives. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating toward this project, call Danny Lassiter at (330) 671-4482.
Harrington is an enthusiastic booster of the skate park, saying, ““There’s nothing bad about it. It’s all good! At this point, we’re doing everything we can with what we’ve got. It may not be beautiful yet, but it will be usable at Park Avenue this summer.”