After a recent discussion between concerned residents and the O’Fallon Parks and Recreation staff about the new Westhoff Skate Park, some community members kept talking.
While some people expressed concerns about the noise and trash the new park could bring to the neighborhood, many believe that it’s more of a positive for the community than the negative.
Don’t Judge Skaters By Their Looks, Mom Says
One Patch reader, Michele, said that her son and his friends skate at Westoff regularly, and that they enjoy it because it’s free and no one bothers them.
“As a group, I have found the skaters and bikers to be respectful kids who help each other out, cheer each other on and take care of their skate/riding surface,” she said. “I have personally seen kids cleaning up at Westoff. Soon they will be tired of it and start policing their own.”
She said she knows exactly what happens—kids place their drinks on a ledge where they sit, and the drinks get knocked down or blown over, and the kids forget to pick them up when they leave.
“I have two teenage boys and I know that out of sight sometimes means out of mind,” Michele added. “When I mentioned this to my son, he said he would check it out next time he is there and clean it up. They really aren't a bad group of kids! Don't judge them by their looks!”
Closed Means Closed
Another reader, Scott, said that it only takes a few to mess it up for everyone, and that an extra patrol or park ranger checking in from time to time could really solve the problem—not just on trash, but also to make themselves known to the kids who patronize the park.
“These kids waited and deserve a place so they don’t skate on sidewalks down roads,” Scott said, adding that reminders to “take care of it or we shut it down” are always helpful too.
Scott also thinks that no one should hang out at the skate park after it closes.
“Closed means closed,” he said. “Congrats to O’Fallon for getting on the issues and taking care in solving the problems.”
Scott added that he is reminded of when the Rascals ball field was up and going.
“The noise, the lights and traffic were the issues that have since been worked out, he said. “So will this.”
What We Really Need is a Dog Park
Jim Frain said that the park has met and surpassed its purpose for O’Fallon youth.
“Good kids having fun in O’Fallon. That’s great,” Frain said. “What the city needs to consider and create for our residents is a dog park. The cities around us have them, and we clearly need a place for our residents to take their dogs to run free and happy.”
Scott added that “the people with pets need to address this.”
“O’Fallon is the only place that doesn’t have on,” he said. “It would make a nice addition to the parks we do have.”
What do you think? Is the skate park a positive addition to the community? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.