Residents show support for skateboard park

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A crowd of youngsters with their skateboards surrounded the entrance to Columbiana City Hall recently.

But they were not on hand to demonstrate their skills on the steps of city hall.

Instead, the youngsters and their parents arrived to show support for a skateboard park proposed by Mayor Allan Lowe.

Lowe noted that the gathering at the regular March 21 meeting of council was &8220;informal&8221; and not a public hearing.

Also on hand were parents who said they had taken their children as far as Homewood to skateboard.

Stormy Gassaway, said a skate park would keep local children &8220;safe and out of trouble.&8221;

Ruby Cardwell said, &8220;We want a sport called skateboarding. The children who want to skateboard are not hoodlums.&8221;

Lowe explained his proposal that the city would match up to $35,000 raised by skateboard enthusiasts to spend up to $70,000 on a skate park.

While there was no vote on the issue, support was expressed from the audience, many of whom would be responsible for raising funds for the skate park.

Harold Waldrop said he would help the city. He also indicated businesses would give to the project.

Georgie Grantham said a skate park would stop the &8220;chaos.&8221;

Lowe said he wanted the full council to consider the idea of the skate park. Councilmembers Ouida Mayfield and Tim Billingsley were absent, so he told those gathered in support of the that the next meeting was set for the first Tuesday in April.

Tammy Shirley, whose 11-year-old son, Cole, skateboards, said of a skateboard park in Columbiana, &8220;I think it would be a great idea, a safe place where (the kids) fit in.&8221;

David Pratscher of Tanuki&8217;s, a business frequented by skateboarders in Alabaster, urged that there be no charge to use the skateboard park. He said a lot of kids could not afford to pay.

In other matters the council:

&161;Heard the first reading of an ordinance to rezone property on Highway 25 next to Recycling Unlimited from R-1 (residential) to B-2 (Business) at the request of Rob McLeroy.

&161;Over the objection of Danny Kelley, voted to pay for Spanish classes for city employees at a cost of $195 each.

&8220;If they (Spanish speakers) come here, they should speak our language,&8221; Kelley said