As recently reported, vandalism at the Knoxville Skate Park has become nearly routine and costly for the City of Knoxville. Vandals recently hit nearly every structure at the park with spray paint, forcing volunteers to repaint the wood.
Difficulties at the Skate Park have gone beyond the vandalism. The wooden park is showing its age and needs improvements that will take more than a coat of paint to fix.
Two young men, Austin Stravers and Ridge Verheil, addressed the Knoxville City Council Monday night to offer their support to the park. They appeared to believe that the City was going to remove the park, though that has never been discussed. In our report regarding the park, Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik spoke of the need to have the park as an amenity to attract and keep residents.
City Manager Harold Stewart told the two that the City is dedicated to maintaining the park. There has been discussion, however, about removing the shelter at the park due to little use and constant vandalism. As for the structures that comprise the park, Stewart said they are "well-used and well-loved" and there is no intention to remove them.
"We just all need to work together," Councilor Dave Roozeboom said. A committee may be formed to hear input from the youth and other users of the skate park, regarding ways to curb vandalism.
The Parks Commission is also holding a meeting tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 2) at 5:30 p.m. at the enclosed shelter at Auld Park. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.