Cheeky, yes. But they were right. They are the next generation of the town's citizens and this is what they do for recreation. And while the township had parks with swings and ballfields, there was no skate park, at least not until a small group of citizens, including my wife Donna and I, took up the cause.
Township officials were divided on the issue, the naysayers parroting the usual fear rhetoric associated with anything to do with teenagers. "Vandalism! Fighting!" And when that was rebutted by facts and solutions, they changed their mantra to "Danger! Liability! Lawsuits!" And when that was rebutted, they finally hid behind "Tax burden!".
For all of these events, my job, among other things, was artwork. We needed a logo and a catchy name, something shorter than The Commercial Township Skate and Bike Park. I took some liberties creating an acronym our of "skate and bike" and came up with "SKaB" - a fitting name for a skate park, I thought. I designed a simple black and white logo which we used on fund raising letters and our Facebook page. The rest of my artwork was for fliers. I wanted to do some skate graphics, or at least something like it, so I picked up a book of Jim Phillips art for inspiration and guidance. Any excuse to buy a new art book.
Community efforts like this bring out the very best and the very worst in people. Some great people stepped up, offering their time to cook and work at fundraisers. Some donated food and supplies, or supported us financially. Many of the construction crew donated their own time. Even those who offered only moral support were appreciated, keeping us from getting dragged down by the dregs - those with no stake in the issue who become viciously vocal opponents.
The idea of creating something new causes a knee-jerk negative reaction in certain people - the scientific term for them being "jughead". Some township officials threw everything they could to stall the process, turning the issue into another excuse to show what manly he-men they were and who you messin ' wid, boy. After several years of fundraising, literally a dollar at a time, and finally raising the money, these same hog floggin', chest thumpin' Buford T. Justices told us they could not accept financial donations from private groups.
"But you told us to raise the money to begin with."
"We can't accept it."
"But you told us to raise the money."
"Yes, but we can't accept it. You will own the skate park and we will own the land where it sits."
"That was the deal."
That was NEVER the deal, you're just now bringing this up."
"Yes, but that's the deal now."
To get this skate park through, we had to get rid of the mayor and the administrator, both of whom were embedded in the township like blood filled ticks on a mule's anus.
|New Mayor Donna reviews plans with the engineer and the head of public works at the site of the skate park.|
Donna ran and beat the mayor in the 2010 election, an election where the 21-year incumbent and his side-tick boasted, "She doesn't stand a chance." And on a wicked hot day last last June, concrete was poured. A week later, kids skated on a brand new skate park and the world did not end. There were no fights, no vandalism. Taxes did not go up. The only thing that happened was that teens skated with little kids and young adults alike. Kumbaya.
|Obstacles cleared, construction in progress.|
|The SKaB today.|