Teens turn wheels for new skate park

April 9, 2011 5:36:22 PM PDT
With warmer weather coming, a lot of youngster will be out on their skate boards. That is a problem when there's no safe place for them to play. Some Bucks County residents are trying to change that.

Twelve-year-old skating buddies Jordan Thompson and Shawn Gabel say they just want to be free to wheel, off the streets, and somewhere close to home.

"We always go twenty minutes to a skate park and they are packed," 6th grader Jordan Thompson told Action News. "You can't even get on them."

The 6th graders started a pretty heavy-hitting skate park push in Harleysville called Skaters Life - complete with t-shirts and an official website.

"There's a Facebook page also - like 60 people joined it," according to 12-year-old Shawn Gabel.

Make that 66. A few weeks ago they officially pitched their proposal to the Lower Salford Township Park Board.

Ranae Gabel, Shawn's mother, told Action News: "If the town doesn't have a skate park, the town is the skate park. The streets are the skate park and it is not safe. "

Right now they're restricted to the homemade ramps in their driveways, sometimes spilling out onto the streets, and sometimes dodging traffic.

Reed Park is the site where they are proposing to put the skate park, by carving out about 8,700 to 9,000 square feet - just about the size of a tennis court, and big enough for skate park of their dreams.

"We are looking for fencing just so it is more safe and safe at night and closed and safe for monitoring."

They've worked out the numbers, and say they're not asking the township for a penny. "We were estimating about $62,000 and we are going to get grants and do fundraisers, " said Christin Downes, Jordan's mother. "We are going to raise it and the kids are going to work hard for it."

Township officials weren't available for comment on Saturday, but the families are hoping their next meeting on April 26th is the one that seals the deal.