Granby officials consider shutting down skate park
July 5, 2011
Tuesday morning, June 28, the Granby Skate Park was littered with trash.
For Mayor Jynnifer Pierro, it was a final straw.
Through the “grapevine,” the mayor had heard two 14-year old girls had been offered alcohol at the skate park early the week before, she said, and there were unofficial reports of underaged smoking on the backside of the historic church next to the skate park.
And in incidents that may or may not be related to skate-park youth behavior, the Granby Library experienced vandalism in its men’s bathroom last week, which was reported to police, and the pavilion in the town park has had three windows “knocked out” this summer, town officials said.
“I get constant complaints about behavior over here that’s not appropriate,” the mayor said. “Every single summer we have to deal with this.”
Fed up with a perceived lack of respect for the skate park, Pierro and board members are putting skaters “on notice” that bad behavior could result in shutting down the park. The topic of the skate park is being posted for discussion at the next town board meeting, July 12.
At the June 28 Granby town board meeting, trustees were informed about bids to improve existing lighting at the skate park and to add two more 1,000-watt down lights. The improvements would be made using $12,300 left in the Ian Raftshol Memorial Fund, a fund created after 16-year-old Ian was electrocuted in June 2006 by a live wire that was under the water of a pond at the putting green on Highway 34. Raftshol was electrocuted while trying to save his dog, which had become entangled in the wire. The dog survived.
Rather than accept a bid to complete the lights project, town officials held off until skate-park users received notice the park’s existence may be in jeopardy.
“I have no desire to put more money into (the skate park) the way it’s being treated right now,” Pierro said.
“I just think the kids should step up to the plate and keep it clean,” said Ian’s father Jon Raftshol, who was informed of town officials’ perceptions the next day.
Patrol of the area has not been as frequent as it has been in the past, according to Granby Police Chief Bill Housley, due to the force’s shortage of officers. Two out of six of the town’s officers are on leave from injuries.
Officer Wayne Schafer tore his meniscus of the knee during police training, and Officer Dan Smith broke his ankle when he caught his foot in a freshly dug fence-post hole while he was running in the dark with a fire extinguisher during a recent porch fire in Granby.
During the skate park discussion, Trustee Deb Shaw suggested trustees either shut down the park or have cameras erected at the site to better observe skate-park behavior.
Trustee Greg Mordini suggested the town place the public, including skaters at the skate park, on notice and put the topic on the next town agenda.
Trustee Greg Guthridge noted: “If we shut down the park, they’re going to go somewhere else,” he said. “At least (at the skate park) we know where the kids are.”
“But we can’t allow bad behavior,” responded Pierro.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603