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Belmar to Kids – No Free Skate Park for You

Flikr user BernardBoyGenius
Flikr user BernardBoyGenius

It’s getting harder and harder to be a kid these days.

Parents complain all the time that kids don’t get enough exercise…and when they actually have a chance to be active; adults look to take away the little fun they have.

Here’s the deal:

Belmar has had a skate park for years. Kids from all around would use it, and now, in a move to raise more money for the town, and also to reign in police costs…Belmar is looking to lease the space to an ice skating concessionaire for a fee, who in turn would charge for the use of the rink in winter, and whatever would be left of the skate park in summer.

Which would probably be nothing.

According to this:

Last week, Belmar’s Borough Council voted to give Mayor Matt Doherty permission to execute a lease deal with Ice World, a Howell-based company, for an outdoor ice rink at the park. The company would pay Belmar $24,000 annually.

George Haviland, Jr., Ice World’s senior vice president for operations. Says they plan to put the rink where the skateboard ramps are currently located, Once the rink is in place, there would be no room for skateboarding.

After putting the ramps in storage during the cooler months of the year, Ice World would bring them back to the park once it got warm and remove the rink for the season, he said.

Ice World would manage the facility year-round. To offset the cost of staffing and maintaining the skate park during the summer, Ice World is expected to charge admission year-round, according to the mayor, adding that the fee has not been set.

The mayor said that Police need to respond frequently to the park, enforcing helmet usage, preventing users from riding bikes on the ramps, and breaking up fights.

But skater Mike Perrino said officers usually enter the park with an attitude, threatening to confiscate skateboards from those without helmets, and asking people to clear out.
“There’s no fights – we’re just trying to have some fun,” said Perrino, 15, of Wall.

Ice World is considering charging $3 to use the ice rink and $3 to rent equipment.
Bob Losito, who raised approximately $80,000 to buy the skateboard ramps, said they are not designed to be broken down and rebuilt. Doing so likely would not leave them in the same condition once they are put back.

The children of the borough and surrounding towns should have the opportunity to skateboard throughout the entire year, not only during the summer, he said.

And for free, I might add.

Do you feel Belmar is acting as the “buzzkill capitol of New Jersey”?
Please leave your comments below.

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